Rookie boxer Manisha Moun punched above her weight to outclass Christina Cruz of the United States in an unanimous verdict to advance to the 54kg pre-quarterfinals of the AIBA Women’s World Championships here on Friday. The 20-year-old Haryana boxer, who was making her debut in the World Championships, was in complete control during the whole of first round against the American, who is almost twice her age.
The 36-year-old from New York is a two-time World bronze medallist but Manisha was not the one to be intimidated by the reputation of the opponent. Manisha, who had won a gold at the India Open and a silver in the Silesian Women’s Boxing championship in Poland this year, was the clear winner as she dominated all the three rounds.
The five judges have her a unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26, 30-26, 29-28). 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.
“I am very proud for winning my first bout in the World Championships. I have proved that I can be at this stage. I will give my best and see how far I can go. I am confident of doing well in the coming rounds,” she said. “My next bout is against the world champion but I have beaten her in Poland. It will be tough but I can beat her,” she added.
Asked about the strategy for the bout, she said everything went according to plan. “My coaches told me to play from a distance. Her (Cruz’s) right was very strong so coaches told me to watch here right. I tried to miss his punches from the right and attacked from the left. That was the plan and I did just that,” she said. “The first round was about observing my opponent and find out what to do and what not to do. 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.
Zholaman, who beat Muzuki Hiruta of Japan 4-1, said Manisha was a “good” boxer. “I lost to her (Manisha) in Poland but that is boxing, it happens. She is a good boxer,” said the Kazakh.