Imphal (India): Former World Champion Boxer Laishram Sarita Devi (in lightweight category), today, turned professional boxer. The Arjuna awardee Boxer is in no mood to hang up her gloves, and in a major shift in her boxing career the iron lady from Imphal has decided to enter the ring without headgear. The four-time Asian champion boxer, Sarita, will be contesting as a professional boxer under the aegis of the Indian Boxing Council, the governing body for control and operations of professional boxing in India.
Sarita has signed a two-year deal with IBC’s commercial partners – Sporty Boxing Private Limited, which will also support Sarita in her endeavor to promote boxing in her home State. The ace Manipur boxer who’s the Deputy Commissioner with the Manipur State Police, Sarita Devi has been allowed by her department and the State Home Department to participate in professional boxing under the aegis of IBC, headed by India’s ace boxing and sports administrator, Brig PKM Raja.
Extending their support to Sarita Devi a green signal, the State Deputy Chief Minister, Gaikhangam Gangmei said, “Manipur is proud that Sarita Devi, a DSP in Manipur Police will be participating in Indian Boxing Council’s Professional Boxing Events and will be competing for National, Asian and World Boxing Titles. I wish her good luck to bring name, fame and glory to Manipur and India by being a winning champion always.”
Sarita Devi, speaking about this major decision of her career, said, “I was on a curve where one needed to make crucial decisions about the competitive playing career. I can’t think of living without boxing. I was also thinking of giving back to the sport that has given me name, fame, recognition and pride to represent the country. I needed an opportunity to extend my playing career; and finances to live up to my dream of promoting talent in Manipur. The tie-up with Sporty Boxing gives me both. There was not a second thought on my mind.”
For those who knew Sarita Devi knew that there was no reason Sarita will not love being a professional boxer. This daughter of an agriculture farmer has been inspired by achievements of legendary Mohammad Ali. Speaking further about her aspirations in professional circuit, she said, “I am a professional boxer now. I have already started training as a pro. I am training hard. My first target is an Asian title in the next six months. My ultimate goal is to retire as a World Champion. Professional boxing gives me the opportunity to pursue my dreams.”
Sarita Devi is remembered for her stand against the powers that be when she had refused to accept her bronze medal at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in a match which was controversially decided in favor of Park Jina of Korea. In the same year, Sarita bagged a silver at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. But, the multiple time national champion hadn’t had many opportunities to justify her talent. So, here is Sarita moving over to the professional boxing to continue her exploits. She believes there is still three to four years of competitive boxing left in her. All she wants now is new opportunities, and there will be “plenty of them” after her decision to become a professional.
The IBC President, Brig Raja is confident that Sarita will emerge as a power to reckon with in pro boxing. Speaking about her turning professional, he said, “As a keen follower and veteran administrator of this sport, I have seen the career graph of this girl. This amazing talent somehow could not get right opportunities. Perhaps, that is the lone difference between Sarita and some other iconic names in boxing. IBC is committed to bridge that gap now. For professional boxing, our approach at IBC is thoroughly professional. IBC, with support from our commercial partners Sporty Boxing, is committed to the complete transformation of Indian boxing over the next 12 months. Sarita has the potential and commitment to be the flag-bearer and ambassador of this transformation. Many other big names of Indian boxing are set to turn pro. Deals are being closed and more announcements will follow soon.”
Speaking about the existence of India in Professional Boxing, Sporty Boxing Private Limited CEO, Ashish Chadha says the Company aims to make India the power house for pro boxing. “Sarita along with our other signings is going to inspire a generation to adopt pro boxing as a career sport. The Company is aiming to catch them young as part of its long term plan. Our association with Sarita will go beyond the ring. The company and the boxer have a long-term understanding to serve and promote the sport of pro boxing and pro boxers.”
The biggest disappointment of Sarita Devi’s career was her being unable to qualify for Rio Olympics. She would like to pursue her dreams from professional ring.