Sarita Devi defeated World Champion Tatar Gulsum of Turkey in the 60 kgs preliminary rounds in an exciting and nail biting finish. Tatar Gulsum seeded No.2 at this World Championships was shocked by Sarita’s aggression right from the moment the gong was sounded in the first round. The Turkish boxer is basically a counter boxer who waits for the opponent to make the first move. However, Sarita was smart enough to commence the attack as she had to make an opening in the defence of the Turkish boxer and then score. Round 1 ended with equal points of 3:3, while round 2 also ended equally at 7:7 pts. In round 3 the Indian camp felt that Sarita deserved more points than what she received, but the round ended again equal at 10:10 pts. In round 4 Sarita went for an all out attack with combination punches and that received the judges nod and Sarita romped home the winner at 14:13 pts. Tatar Gulsum who has remained unbeaten since 2008 when she won the World Championship title at Ningbo, China in 63 kgs won the World Championship title again in 2010 at Barbados. In 2011 she was European Champion and being seeded World No.2 was a hot favourite to reach the finals. Hence the Turkish team was visibly agitated at her loss and a formal protest was lodged with the Chairman of the Jury alongwith a protest fee of 500 US Dollars against the decision of the bout. The Jury called the Manager of the Turkish team which had lodged the protest and also the undersigned who is the Manager of the Indian Team while the bout recording was being reviewed. Having seen the whole bout the Jury was of the opinion that the decision was correct and hence the protest was turned down and the Turkish team had to forfeit the protest fee.
Sarita Devi will now play against Natasha Jonas of England in the 60 kgs prequarter finals on 15 May 2012. Incidentally Natasha had earlier lost to Tatar Gulsum by a narrow margin of 13:15 pts and hence Sarita can have the psychological advantage while playing against her.
In the 57 kgs Mandakini Chanu lost against World No.1 seed Tiara Brown of USA by a close margin. At the end of round 1 the score was 3:2 pts in favour of Tiara but at the end of round 2 the scores were tied at 7:7 pts each. By the end of round 3 Tiara had a slender lead of 13:12 pts but in round 4 the US boxer changed gears and went on to win the bout on a score of 21:16 pts. Mandakini had put up a brave and spirited fight against the World No.1 seed and was unfortunate to have gone down fighting till the end.
In the 81 kgs, former World Champion Jenny RL who had made a comeback into the Indian team after a brief layoff had a fight on her hands when she took on Sarah Scheurich of Germany. The German girl was taller than Jenny by atleast 12 inches and Jenny had to use her experience and ringcraft to get inside her opponents guard and deliver crisp hooks, uppercuts and straight punches. At the end of round 1 Jenny was trailing by a solitary pointat 1:2 pts. However she equalled the scores in round 2 at 5:5 pts. Jenny took a slender lead in round 3 which ended at 7:6pts and ended the bout with a narrow 11:10 pts victory over the German boxer.
On 15 May 2012 four Indian boxers will be seen in action. In the 48 kgs Pinki Jangra will meet Lidia Ion of Romania while in the 51 kgs Mary Kom will play against Marielle Hansen of Norway. In the 60 kgs Sarita will meet Natasha Jonas of England and in the 64 kgs Meena Rani will meet Marija Stojanovic of Serbia.