Sarita, who got a first round bye, faces Diana Sandra Brugger of Switzerland in the second round.
New Delhi: Seasoned L. Sarita Devi (60kg) and debutant Manisha Maun (54kg) will open the Indian challenge at the Aiba Women’s World Boxing Championships here on Friday.
Sarita, who clinched the gold in 2006 in front of home crowd, is determined to replicate her show in the 10th edition of the championships that got under way at the KD Jhadav Stadium on Thursday.
“After 12 years I am playing at home again… very special feeling and thrilled to play in front of them. Tomorrow is my first bout and I am ready to give my best,” Sarita, who is seeded fourth, said.
Sarita, who got a first round bye, faces Diana Sandra Brugger of Switzerland in the second round. Brugger had defeated Huswatun Hasanah of Indonesia in the opener.
“My opponent (Brugger) is tough but my preparation is good and I am confident that I can win. I did my homework before coming here. I watched her previous bouts’ videos and did a study on my opponent,” the 36-year-old said with a big smile on her face.
Sarita has come into the tournament after winning a bronze each in the India Open and Silesian Women’s Boxing championship in Gliwice, Poland, this year.
It will be a tough road ahead for Sarita if she overcomes Brugger as she has been clubbed with defending world champion Yang Wenlu of China and Rio Olympics bronze medallist Anastasia Beliakova of Russia in the lower half of the draw.
It will be a tough opener for Manisha as she faces 2016 World Championships bronze medallist Christina Cruz of the United States in the first round.
“Manisha is a talented girl and this is her first world championship. It is a great opportunity for her to showcase her talent. Hopefully she will win,” Sarita said.
Cruz is also a bronze medallist at the 2012 World Championships but Manisha was not perturbed by her opponent’s reputation.
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, said she was ready for the D-Day.
“The exposure I got in Poland was great. I have prepared well and, with the home crowd support, would hope to do well,” said Manisha.
seven Indians get first round byes
Five-time world champion M.C. Mary Kom is among six other boxers who have been accorded first-round byes apart from Sarita. The other Indians who have received first-round byes are Rani Pinki (51), Sonia (57), Lovlina Borgohain (69), Saweety (75) and Seena Punia (81+).
But, Smranjit Kaur (64), Bhagyabati Kachari (81) along with Manisha will jump into fray straightaway as their weight categories have more entries and they will have to fight at least a couple of rounds to enter quarterfinals.
On the first day of the championships, the preliminary rounds began in three categories — fly (51), feather (57) and light (60) — with favourites winning their bouts quite easily. However, the bout between Staridsman Anja of Australia and Cordero Hernanadez of Columbia in lightweight category turned out to be the best, fetching a split verdict (3:2) in favour of the Aussie.