L Sarita Devi, Manisha Mouna give India flying start on opening day

Namibia Flores

Namibia Flores

Yesterday, at the Women's World Boxing Championship, the 36-year old Manipuri won her first bout via a tight split-decision against Swiss pugilist Sandra Brugger and chose to dedicate the win to all of the people of Manipur who helped pay for the fine that AIBA imposed on her after her protest landed her a ban.

The 36-year-old Cruz from NY was the last edition's bronze medallist besides winning the same colour of medal in 2012 also.

The Haryana boxer, who won a silver medal after defeating former European champion Viktoria Kuleshova in the semifinals of Silesian Championships in Poland in September, believes she is ready for the D-Day.

The five judges were so impressed with Manisha, that the unanimous verdict (29-28, 30-27, 30-26, 30-26, 29-28) was very much on the cards.

In the pre-quarterfinals on Sunday, Manisha now faces reigning world champion Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan, whom she had beaten in the Poland event.

Manisha's mother Usha Rani and gransmother Saroj Devi, who had come all the way from Kaithal, were at the stands to watch her bout at the K D Jhadav Stadium.

Unperturbed by a tough draw, Manisha handed a shock 5-0 defeat to World championships medallist Christina of the United States of America in a 54kg first round contest. I have proved that I can be at this stage.

"In the first round I was trying to observe her and find out how to go about in the next two rounds".

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Meanwhile, Sarita beat her Swiss opponent Sandra with a 4-0 decision in a 60kg second-round bout. "However, once I was recognised publicly, I got a lot of support from the government and the Sports Authority of India (SAI), I would like to thank the government for this", she said.

"My coaches had warned me of Christina's right blows". Her (Cruz's) right was very strong so coaches told me to watch here right. "I had to attack with my left which I executed to my satisfaction", Manisha said. Using all her experience, the Manipuri said that she opted for a cautious start. In the second round, I went with the plan and I was able to land my punches. "In the third round, I went for attack and gave the best attack and won the bout", she added. The Kazakh beat Japan's Mizuki Hiruta on a split (4-1) decision.

"Sandra is a very experienced boxer and it was very hard to control her in the ring".

Sarita then made an impact with a solid right which forced Sandra to go through a standing count in the second round. "Under the new points system, you need to have a proper guard and combination of punches to fetch points".

"The people of Manipur contributed money to pay my fine and so I dedicate this win to them".

Sarita's lone medal (gold) in the World Championships was in New Delhi 12 years ago.

60kg: Mira Potkonen (Fin) bt Ajna Stridsman (Aus) 3-2, Sudaporn Seesondee (Tha) bt Stacia Suttles (USA) 3-2, Yeonji Oh (Kor) bt Beatriz Ferreira (Bra) 3-2, Paige Murney (Eng) bt Irma Testa (Ita) 3-2, Agnes Alexiusson (Swe) bt Ditte Frostholm (Den) 5-0, Karina Ibragimova (Kaz) bt Imane, Anastasiia Beliakova (Rus) bt Elisa Williams (Pan) 5-0.

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