New Delhi: If numbers are anything to go by, Sarita Devi has won eight Asian Championships medals, including five golds, a rare accomplishment in Indian boxing. The 37-year-old Manipuri boxer is currently representing Gujarat Giants at the Big Bout Boxing League and feels the tournament will give good exposure and hone skills of young boxers.

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Q. Tell us how a league tournament like Big Bout will help you and young boxers?

A. This is the first time that a league has started in boxing and the standard of boxing is quite high. Boxers are getting good chance, practice and exposure here. After so many years, boxers like us are also getting a chance to perform. It’s helping new boxers and the experienced ones like us to perform live. It’s a good start and I am sure it will help boxing to grow in India.

Q. Are you happy with the performance of your team so far?

A. I am very happy with the performance of my team. We have done a lot of hard work. We are getting a very good support by our team management and owner. This is the first time we have received such kind of support. I have full confidence that our team will do well and become champions.

Q. What do you think about the concept of league tournaments?

A. I am completely in favour of this concept. We get to play against different opponents as boxers from various countries have participated here. It is a good mix of domestic and international players. It will help the youngsters when they take on good boxers in the future. Most of the boxers come from a very humble background and have benefitted in terms of finances through this tournament.

Q. How will this tournament help you in preparing for Asian Championships?   

A. The tournament is like a live trial as we are playing in front of the entire country. It’s a very good preparation just before the Olympic qualifier. We still have over a month for the qualifier and we are getting to know the areas we need to work on.

Q. You are playing against a lot of young boxers, do you think Indian boxing is in safe hands?

A. We are playing against youngsters who are strong. We are tactical and use our experience when we play against them in the ring. I and Mary are the oldest boxers here and we are now mothers as well. Youngsters get confidence when they play against experienced campaigners like us. They will improve and gain a lot of confidence when they participate in international events.