Former World Champion Laishram Sarita Devi defeated Alexandra Kuleshova of Russia in a pulsating contest in the 51 kg weight category at the 6th World Women’s Boxing Championships at Barbados on the evening of 10th Seprember.
Kuleshova is shorter than Devi, and she used that to her advantage to put up an aggressive front in the bout. But Devi absorbed many of the Russian’s punches and held her own.
At the end of Round 1, Sarita was ahead by 2:1 points and at the end of Round 2 she was still marginally ahead by 3:2 points. The Russian took a slender lead in the third round though to surge ahead by a margin of 7-6.
The momentum was reversed in the fourth round, as Devi, taking the advice of the Chief Coach Anoop Kumar, started relentlessly attacking her opponent which paid rich dividends. She first equalized the score and then shot ahead to finally win convincingly with a score of 11:8 points.
Devi’s next opponent will be Yazici Sumeyra of Turkey, and the fight will take place on 12th September 2010.
When asked to comment on her victory, Devi said that she has worked very hard to reach her present level. She also stated that she found the going difficult against her opponent as the Russian boxer was much shorter in height, which gave the Indian a different look than her regular opponents. That made her victory all the more sweet.
Devi added that her dream is to win the gold medal here as well as at the London Olympics in 2012.
The other Indians had an unlucky day though. In the 64 kg weight category, Pratibha Jakhar lost to Jackson Cashmere of USA by RSC in the very first round, when the score was 7:2 in favour of the American boxer.
In 69 kg, Kavita Goyat went down to Andrea Strohmayer of Germany on points, 4-7. The final score does not indicate the actual postion though; the fight was much closer. At the end of Round 1 both boxers were tied at 1:1; after the second round Kavita Goyat was ahead by 2-1, and her lead increased to 3-2 in the third round. But in the last round, the German let fly a barrage of hits as she stormed to a 7-4 lead and took the bout.
In the 75 kg weight category, Aswathy Mol lost to Sagaydakovskaya Inna of Russia on points, 1-5. After Round 1 the score was 1-0 in favour of the Russian boxer, after Round 2 the lead increased to 2-1, and in Round 3 the Russian took a convincing lead and the score became 5-1. Round 4 went by without any points for either of the boxers, thus giving victory to the Russian.
On 11 September, Mary Kom will take on Jenny Smith of Australia in the 48 kg weight category, while in the 60 kg class Neetu Chahal will play against Ireland’s Katie Taylor, the current world champion.