Pinki Jangra is as gutsy as MC Mary Kom. If anything the desire to prove herself is higher and she’s a bit of a Gallus — as they call them, in Glasgow. Daring, fearless in her first big Games filling into Mary’s gloves, and cheekily punching above her height, if not weight —- since she’s only started out in her career.
But at the CWG semifinals, having assured herself of a bronze, Pinki was out-sized by Northern Ireland’s Michaela Walsh, losing a split decision to an opponent who stuck to her strengths wearing blinkers — straight punches and maxing her long range to ward off potential counters.
“I gave my 100 percent, but it wasn’t enough today. I will fight harder next time,” Pinki said, but like Mary before her — whom she follows also crucially from moving up from a natural 48 to 51 kg (the only available division at the Games) — she found the going tough against a taller opponent.
At the Olympics semis, Mary had run into Nicola Adams, not just a hard puncher but also a physically looming specimen — on the upper banks of 51 kg rather than lower — and it was always going to be a daunting effort against someone who also has speed to go with her strength.
At Glasgow, though Pinki can tell herself she matched Walsh’s punch-power, she was greatly caged by her rival’s towering reach, and debilitated in freeing herself up to land her own punches. Every 51 kg Indian boxer will need the massive strength conditioning to negate a height advantage they concede to taller opponents, though Mary proved that she could overcome the size disadvantage and march to an Olympic medal.
“In 48 kg Pinki will be a champ anyday. But it’ll always be a challenge against taller boxers of equal calibre,” said coach Hemlata, though she rued not having Indians among the officials (because of AIBA imposed ban) as it helps put your voice forward.
“It doesn’t help that we have no Indians to speak up for our boxers,” she said.
What ground Mary covers up for with experience and subliminal footwork in the ring, Pinki has been doing with her aggressive punching. But bottled up in what would seem like an octopus’ clutch against the Northern Irishwoman, she needed a Plan B, which she could either not immediately summon or was not allowed to by Walsh who refused to be pushed backward.