She fights like Mary Kom, she fights in Mary's previous 48kg category and now she has emulated the legend by becoming the 2nd Indian in history to reach the final of the Women's World Boxing Championship on debut. Self-belief and fearlessness personified, Manju Rani (48kg) stormed into the final even rest of the contingent in the semi-finals settled for bronze at Women’s World Boxing Championships held in Ulan-Ude, Russia on Saturday.
The Strandja Cup silver medallist, who started off slow against former World Championships bronze medallist Chuthamat Raksat of Thailand, gained in pace and aggression as the bout progressed to eventually secure a 4-1 win. This was also sweet revenge for the youngster after having tasted defeat at the hands of Raksat at the Thailand Open semi-finals this year.She thus emulated the feats of Mary Kom herself as well as Sonia Chahal, Sonia Lather, Saweety Boora, Sarjubala Devi, Usha Nagisetty, each of whom had made it to the final in their maiden appearance at the World Championships.
The Haryana girl has been in terrific form throughout the tournament and her biggest achievement so far has been an upset win over the top seed Kim Hyang of North Korea in the quarter-finals. In her quest for the gold, she will face second seed Ekaterina Paltceva of Russia.
“I had already played her in Thailand Open semi-finals so I had the experience and knew what to expect. I managed to land a few uppercuts in the first round but she caused me trouble in the second round. I followed the strategy of the coaches in the last round and won the bout,” said an elated Manju Rani after the victory.
On Sunday, Manju Rani will hunt for her first gold from the World Championships when she takes on second seed Ekaterina Paltceva of Russia at 1:30 pm IST.