World boxing champion Manisha Moun (22) was awarded the rank of the Head Constable of the Indian Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in early April, after she clinched a gold medal at the Cologne Boxing World Cup. Director-General of ITBP, Surjeet Singh Deswal announced her promotion, adding that he was immensely proud of the young girl’s achievements.
It was in December when Moun, who was part of ITBP’s Central Boxing team, competed in the featherweight category (57 kgs) at the World Cup held in Germany. She returned home with a gold medal, after giving a tough fight to two-time International Boxing Association (AIBA) Women’s Youth World champion Sakshi Choudhary.
This isn’t the first time that Moun has displayed exemplary performance. She has, on several occasions, made India proud with her relentless grit, determination and willingness to fight all odds.
Let’s take a look at her inspiring journey.
Foray into sports
Moun hails from a modest background in Haryana’s Kaithal village. The youngest of the three children, she always wanted to participate in sports, but her parents were against it. It was her brother who first introduced her to volleyball, and Moun completely fell in love with the sport. She would often step out of the house to play the game with her brother, without bringing it to the notice of her parents.
During her volleyball practice, a boxing coach noticed her performance and convinced her to try out the sport. She was only 12 when she first gave a shot to boxing, but without her father’s knowledge. Her performance improved with time, and she was an active participant in several local championships. Moun’s father was shocked when he saw her news in a local daily, bagging a medal at a state-level boxing championship.. Eventually, he became comfortable with her choice to pursue boxing as a career.
A string of achievements
The young pugilist became a global sensation when she defeated world champion Dina Zhalaman of Kazakhstan in the 54 kgs women’s category. She also won against another award-winning boxer, USA’s Christina Chruz. Her performance was lauded the world over and Moun earned the moniker ‘The Giant Killer’, even though she couldn’t go beyond the quarter-finals.
Italian chief coach Rafael Bergemasco couldn’t stop himself from praising her performance.
“With the others, you know they might take some pressure before a World Championship. That’s not the case with her,” he added.
It was in 2019 when she won a silver medal at the National Championships. It was in the same year that she also won a bronze medal in the bantamweight category (54 kgs) at the 2019 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships.
Switching to featherweight category
In 2019, Moun suffered an elbow injury, after which she moved to the featherweight category (57 kg) to qualify for the Olympics. Unfortunately, she couldn’t be a part of the Indian team for the 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship. After making a transition into the new category, she has been receiving training from Ron Simms Jr at Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) in Karnataka since 2020.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)