Former world and Asian champion, L Sarita Devi will face World No. 29 Zsofia Bedo of Hungary in her professional debut bout in her hometown of Imphal, Manipur, in the Indian Boxing Council’s January 29 fight, organisers announced on Thursday.
Reportedly, the Asian Games bronze-medallist Sarita will become the first Indian woman boxer ever to take the plunge of going into the world of professional boxing at the Khuman Lampak Sports Complex indoor arena.
The 31-year-old has numerous Asian championship triumphs in her name and will be up against Bedo, who has played 59 bouts till date and won 19 of them. The Hungarian is known for knocking out her opponents.
“Turning professional is not just about winning or losing a couple of bouts. The most important decision of my career is also a mission for me. I didn’t want to start against any average opponent. I am entering the professional circuit quite late in my career. I will have to make longer strides to achieve my goals. The stronger the opponent, the better are the chances to improve my pro rankings,” the Manipur boxer was quoted in a statement, as reported by Hindustan Times.
Inspired by Indian Vijender Singh’s maiden professional bout, Sarita is getting trained under renowned coach Joe Clough in Rohtak.
Sarita said, “I am training hard and am going to fight harder”
Though Sarita Devi was put under one-year suspension by the world boxing body, AIBA, on disciplinary grounds, this Indian has made the country proud in various platforms, including clinching a silver, at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
When asked her about the professional debut in her hometown, an elated Sarita replied, “Manipur is the land of warriors. We people love combat sports. Boxing lovers are going to turn up for my bout in big numbers. That’s going to be the biggest day of my career for the simple reason that I have never had an opportunity to contest such a big bout in front of my home crowd.
“There is going to be an extra pressure. But, that also pumps up the adrenalin,” she added.
Besides becoming India’s first professional boxing world champion, Sarita is also aiming to hold an Asian title belt over the next 6-8 months.
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