Debutant Manju Rani set the tone for India at the 2019 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Ulan-Ude on Monday by beating Venezuela’s 24-year-old Rojas Tayonis Cedeno through a unanimous verdict.
Meanwhile, Manju Bamboriya was unable to advance as Italy’s Angela Carini proved to be too strong.
Rani put her superior height and reach in her light flyweight (48kg) contest against Cedeno to good use.
Right from the opening bell, Rani boxed smartly, throwing quick combinations and ensuring she steered clear of anything the Venezuelan offered in return.
The 24-year-old Cedeno struggled to cope with Rani's jab, which enabled her to land with a stinging, straight right hand seemingly at will.
By the final round, Rani was full of confidence, dropping her guard and dancing around the ring.
Three of the five judges scored the bout 30-27, while the other two scored 30-24 and 30-26 in favour of the Indian.
Rani is now just one win away from securing a maiden AIBA Women’s World Championships medal. The way to that, however, won’t be a cakewalk as she will square off against last edition's bronze medallist Kim Hyang Mi of South Korea on October 10.
Manju Bamboriya lost an entertaining bout with Angela Carini in the 64kg category.
Both fighters were keen to establish themselves and were happy to go toe-to-toe and trade blows in an entertaining contest.
Bamboriya had plenty of success but as the contest developed, it was the Italian who maintained a higher work rate - for which she was rewarded.
Carini, seeded fourth in the light welterweight category, looked a bit ungainly at time but her looping, clubbing hook found its range on numerous occasions.
The Italian registered a 4-1 victory with scores of 30-27, 30-26, 28-29, 29-28, 29-28.
In the pipeline
India’s MC Mary Kom will finally be seen in action at the World Championships on Tuesday, October 8 in her quest to become the first-ever boxer to win seven World titles.
The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist will kick off her campaign in the 51kg category against Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong. The fight is scheduled from 20:30 IST.
Saweety Boora (75kg), who registered a thumping 5-0 unanimous victory over Mongolia's Myagmarjargal Munkhbat, will be up against Lauren Price of Wales on Tuesday.