Sarita Devi frittered away a strong start to bow out with a 0-5 loss to Russia's Natalia Shadrina in the round of 32. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Former champion L Sarita Devi (60kg) was on Sunday knocked out of the World Women's Boxing Championships after being upstaged by Russia's Natalia Shadrina in the round of 32 in Ulan Ude, Russia. The fourth-seeded Indian, who got a first-round bye, frittered away a strong start to bow out with a 0-5 loss. Sarita, a gold-medallist in the 2006 New Delhi edition of the showpiece, was chasing her maiden world medal in over a decade. The Manipuri, who is also a multiple-time Asian champion, was in control in the opening three minutes, logging more punches against a seemingly withdrawn opponent. However, Shadrina fought back in the next two rounds and surprised Sarita to get the judges' nod.
Sarita is also in the running to become a member of the International Boxing Association's first ever athletes commission, which will be formalised at the ongoing event. Saweety Boora (75kg) and Jamuna Boro (54kg) are the two Indians to have advanced to the pre-quarters so far after winning their opening bouts.
Indian icon MC Mary Kom says she is a shade "nervous" heading into her ninth appearance at the showpiece, not because of the competition that awaits her but the overwhelming expectations at home. Mary Kom has to her credit six gold medals and a silver in eight world championship appearances, the last of which was in New Delhi in 2018. Statistically, she is the most successful boxer in the event and has also earned the moniker "Magnificent Mary" from the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
In an interview to PTI ahead of the upcoming edition, the seasoned Manipuri spoke about the nerves that can get triggered by the expectations despite her wealth of experience. "I say it all the time, I will give my best but cannot guarantee a medal. I tell myself that too but the pressure is always there and so is the stress of handling it. It can make you nervous," the 37-year-old said.