New Delhi: Manisha Moun punched way above her weight to outshine Christina Cruz of the United States in a unanimous 5:0 decision to move into the 54 kg pre-quarterfinals at the 10th AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships here on Friday, November 16.
The 21-year-old debutant, who began well sending in a flurry of punches, was in complete control throughout the first round against the 36-year-old, who is a two-time World bronze medallist.
The experienced American did come back in the second round but that was only momentary as the Haryana pugilist, undaunted by her rival’s sudden charge dented whatever advantage the American was seemed to have gained in the first few seconds.
So dominant was the Indian, backed up by good recent performances in the Indian Open and Silesian Women’s Boxing in Poland, that she did not allow any liberty to her opponent in the third and went about landing straight ones and a couple of combination punches.
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.
The Indian, however, will have another tough fight on her hands in the next round. She will take on reigning world champion Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan, who beat Muzuki Hiruta of Japan 4-1.
Manisha, though aware of Dina’s reputation, would draw inspiration from her victory over the Kazakh in Poland this September.
“I am happy and proud of living up to expectations. I have proved that I belong here. I am really confident of doing well in the Championships,” Manisha said.
Asked how she rated her chance against the defending world champion, Manisha said that she would do her best.
“I have beaten her in Poland. She is a tough boxer but I can beat her,” she added.
Commenting on her strategy, the Haryana pugilist said she was simply following instructions from her coach.
“My coaches advised me to play from a distance. My rival had a strong right and I kept watching it throughout and evaded nicely. I had to attack with my left which I executed to my satisfaction,” Manisha said.
In fact, the biggest inspiration for Manisha was the presence of her mother, Usha Rani, and grandmother, Saroj Devi. They had travelled all the way from their village, Kaithal in Haryana to watch her perform.
Incidentally, this was the first occasion for them to see her performance live.