Former World Boxing champion and Asian Games Bronze-medallist Sarita Devi will face veteran Hungarian Zsofia Bedo in her maiden bout after turning professional. The 31-year-old will face Bedo on January 29 in Imphal, PTI reported.

Last month, Sarita signed a two-year deal with Sporty Boxing Private Limited, a licensing body for professional boxers in India.

The Manipuri pugilist is currently training with Joe Clough, who has coached Evander Holyfield and has also been a member of the legendary Mohammad Ali’s coaching team, “Turning professional is not just about winning or losing a couple of bouts. The most important decision of my career is also a mission for me. I didn’t want to start against any average opponent”

“I am entering the professional circuit quite late in my career. I will have to make longer strides to achieve my goals. The stronger the opponent, the better are the chances to improve my pro rankings,” Sarita Devi said.

Sarita Devi added that she was thrilled to be fighting in her hometown and was confident that the arena would be packed on the day of the event, “Manipur is the land of warriors. We people love combat sports. Boxing lovers are going to turn up for my bout in big numbers. That’s going to be the biggest day of my career for the simple reason that I have never had an opportunity to contest such a big bout in front of my home crowd. There is going to be an extra pressure. But, that also pumps up the adrenalin,” Sarita Devi said.

Twenty-nine year-old Bedo is no pushover with 59 professional bouts under her belt, winning 19 of them.