Manisha cruises into pre-quarters

SUPERB START: India's Manisha Moun (left) attempts to land a blow on Christina Cruz during their 54kg bout on Friday. PTI

Manisha Maun is no stranger to challenges. Like many of her fellow woman boxers, her fight began at home. Of acceptance and support.

Her efforts succeeded in 2013 with a win at inter-state school competition. On Friday, she played her first Women’s World Championships bout and defeated experienced American Christina Cruz of USA in a unanimous 5-0 verdict.

Among the many who cheered for her from the stands, was her mother Usha Rani and grandmother Sarojini Devi, both “happy and proud”.

Later in the evening, Sarita Devi attacked and defended with vigour in an intensely fought 60 kg bout against Swiss Sandra Diana Brugger of Switzerland. She eventually registered a 4-0 win via a split decision in front of a vociferous crowd. In another 60 kg bout, Finland’s Olympic medallist, Mira Potkonen defeated Commonwealth Games champion Anja Stridsman 3-2 in the second round. Both Manisha and Sarita have entered the pre-quarterfinals.

Playing India’s first match of the competition, Manisha was dauntless. She was barely nine when the Championships was last held at home in 2006. Against Christina, the bronze medallist in the previous edition in the 54 kg, she brought out her best.

Manisha kept her opponent at bay with infrequent flurries of jabs and constant attack from the left. Like a good student, the 20-year-old heeded to the advice of her coaches. Whenever Christina came forward, Manisha would step back, before launching herself into the attack.

If the opening round was about getting the measure of her opponent, the next two rounds saw her tightening the grip over the American. In the third round, the Haryana girl had thrown enough punches, to be announced a winner.

“My coaches told me to play her from a distance. Her (Christina’s) right was very strong so coaches told me to keep a watch there. I tried to miss her punches from the right and attacked from the left," said Manisha.

"I am very proud to win my first bout in the World Championships. I have proved that I can be at this stage.”

The youngster has got one of the toughest draws, where she next faces world champion Dina Zholaman from Kazakhstan. Dina defeated Mizuki Hiruta of Japan 4-1. Manisha, who had beaten Zholaman in Silesian Open boxing tournament in Poland recently, was unfazed. "I know I can beat her," she said.

In the evening, Sarita was slow to begin with against an equally experienced and attacking Sandra. The Swiss, however, received a standing count in the second round as Sarita fought her way into contention by going all out.

“She attacked me from the start, so I found it tough to control her. In the new point system, it is important to have a proper guard with combination of punches, I did that,” said Sarita who next plays Irish Kellie Harrington, 2016 World Championship silver medallist in 64 kg.

With Sarita winning her bout, India got the start befitting a host nation.

Leading results: 45-48 kg: Steluta Duta (Rou) bt Fuertes Fernandez Laura (Esp) 5-0; Asenova Sevda Yuliyanova (Bul) bt Ugarte Carmelo Astryd Marine (Aus) 5-0; Wada Madoka (Jpn) bt Farjana Farjana (Ban) 2:15; Hanna Okhota (Ukr) bt Marie Maciejewski (Ger) 5-0; Roumaysa Boualam (Alg) bt Connan Marie (Fra) 5-0, Bak Chorong (Kor) bt Brandy Barnes (Cay) 2:18.

54 kg: Tursunoy Rakhimova (Uzb) bt Modestine Munga Zalia (Cgo) 5:0, Zohra Zahraoui (Mar) bt Azize Nimani (Ger) 3:2, Manisha Maun (Ind) bt Cruz Christina (US) 5:0, Dina Zholaman (Kaz) bt Mizuki Hiruta (Jpn) 4:1.

60 Kg: Mira Potkonen (Fin) bt Anja Stridsman (Aus 3:2, Yeonji Oh (KOR) Bt Beatriz Ferreira Iasmimn(Brz) 3:2, Paige Murney (Eng) bt Irma Testa (ITA) 3:2, Ala Yarshevich (Blr) bt Melissa Gonzalez(ESP) 5:0,Seesondee Sudaporn(Tha) bt Stacia Suttles (Usa) 3:2, Lachgar Hasnaa(Mar) bt Choe Hye Song(PRK) 3:2,Monkhor Namuum(Mgl) bt Punam Rawal (Nep) 5:0, Shina Alexiusson (Swe) bt Ajaaja Ditte Ajaaja(DEN) 5:0, Sarita Devi (India) bt Sandra Diana Brugger (Swz) 4:0

69kg: Shakhnoza Yunusova (Uzb) bt Kimberly Gittens (Bar) 3:2, Bylon Atheyna(Pan) bt Stoiko Yulia(Ukr) 3:2, Myriam Karine(Can) bt Eccles Joy (Wal) 4:1, Chen Nien-Chin(Tpe) bt Madeleine Angelsen (Nor) 5:0, Akerke Bakhytzhan (Kaz) bt Erdenetuya Enkhbaatar (Mgl) 5:

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Manisha cruises into pre-quarters

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