Sarita Devi challenges Hungary's Zsofia Bedo in a much awaited bout

Zsofia had warned that she will knock down Sarita, who dared her seasoned rival in her own way during the face-off

Sarita Devi challenges Hungary

Come Sunday and another chapter will be added to the glorious boxing history of Manipur. The state of India’s boxing queen MC Mary Kom and Iron Lady L Sarita Devi will witness the first ever professional female boxer from India stepping into the pro circuit. Sarita Devi will take on Hungary’s veteran professional Zsofia Bedo at the Khuman Lampak Stadium. The five-bout IBC Fight Night will also witness Pinki Jangra and veteran Som Bahadur Poon making their professional debut.

Sarita had a face-off with her opponent Zsofia here today. The 59-pro bout veteran from Hungary has experience on her side, but Sarita exudes confidence that she had trained hard to silence her opponent, who has been making tall claims. Much before getting into the ring, the rivalry between the two has been flaring up. Zsofia had warned that she will knock down Sarita, who dared her seasoned rival in her own way during the face-off.

“These (professional) boxers always make tall claims. I have trained really hard, my coach is among the best in professional boxing, he is monitoring my progress. He is confident, I have trained up to 8 hours every day. I am
playing for the pride of Manipur, I am playing for the pride of India. I have to give a gift of victory to my fans. Ask her (Zsofia) after the bout tomorrow, you will find her looking for excuses. She made fun of my emotions yes I cry, because I am not ready to lose,” says Sarita.

Zsofia is not ready to take Sarita seriously. “She (Sarita Devi) is starting her career. She will start learning about pro boxing. Her amateur past is nothing here. I have come so far, it is only to win. If you have fan support, there is pressure on you. Maybe everyone here knows Sarita. On Sunday evening, they will know there is a girl from Hungary

Zsofia Bedo, who beat Sarita in her home city.”

Glasgow Commonwealth 2014 Games medallist Pinki Jangra too is confident of a winning start to her professional career. Pinki will take on Claudia Ferenczi of Slovakia. Former Commonwealth champion Som Bahadur Poon

returns to make a pro debut eight years after he had played his last competitive bout during the 2008 Military Games. Poon will take on Manop Siththiem of Thailand on Sunday. The Armyman had quit boxing and started
serving the sport as a coach. “This is a second lease of life for the boxer in me,” says the veteran Army boxer, who had virtually given up boxing after the 2008 World Military Boxing Championship. “Health issues were not letting me compete and I could not think of staying away from the sport that has made me what I am today. I was successful as a coach too and my boxers were winning medals. But, fire in the belly to compete as boxer was flaring up, every time I will be on the ring side as a coach,” adds Poon.

Four time Super Welter Weight IBC National Champion Siddharth Verma in an eight round action will defend his title against fellow countryman Jagannathan, who has a 1-0 professional record. Verma has won all of his four professional bouts. Another army man, Vipin Kumar will be up against Mubarak Sseguya of Uganda.

The demand for tickets is high and city promoters Impact Medianet & Communication are sure of a packed house. "We are thrilled to be promoting the first Pro-Boxing Fight Night in Imphal which will feature one of Manipur's favourite daughters. Manipur is a land of sports, and amongst various sports that youth in Manipur play and love; boxing has a special place. So, when an opportunity presented itself to take boxing to the next level, we thought we should be playing a major role. We have with us the active support of Editors' Guild Manipur in this venture, which we hope will give a huge boost to pro boxing in Manipur," says Mr Yumnam Rupachandra, chairman Impact TV, the promoters of the Imphal fight night.

The event shall be broadcast live on six broadcast networks, including Doordarshan, PTC Punjabi, No. 1 regional network in Uttar Pradesh Dangal and Impact TV, Manipur. More than a 100 young boxing trainees will witness

the biggest competitive boxing action in the history Manipur. “We are committed to establish India as the next big thing in the world of professional boxing. The high octane action is going to inspire an entire generation to embrace this sport. We will see several champions emerging in the ring. But bigger gain will be in the stands, where one can
foresee many boxers borne to take legacy of Sarita forward in the Jewel State of India,” says IBC President, Brig PKM Raja.

“We are committed to establish this sport as a career option,” adds Ashish Chadha, Director, Sporty Boxing, IBC’s commercial partners. “There is a model in place. You will see professional boxing sustaining itself and ensuring the growth of all associates. I congratulate Impact Impact Medianet and Communications for becoming the part of this beautiful sporting journey.”

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