Mixed opinion on women's boxing persists, says Olympian Anastasia Beliakova

Anastasia Beliakova,who is in Delhi to take part in the upcoming Women's World Boxing Championships, feels there is still a large gap between men's and women's boxing.

Anastasia Beliakova will be among the key contenders at the 2018 Women's World Boxing Championships, to be held in New Delhi.   -  Special Arrangement

The need for women to break barriers, deeply-rooted in a traditional mindset, is a necessity in most parts of the globe and Russian Olympic bronze medallist Anastasia Beliakova stands as a symbol of change in her country because of the power in her punches.

Anastasia, who is in Delhi to take part in the upcoming Women's World Boxing Championships, may have become a 'household name' in Russia following her medal winning performance in women's lightweight category, but she is still a little girl for her adoring grandmother.

The 25-year-old's grandmother wasn't too happy when she took up boxing as a 14-year-old. Even now, her grandmother worries about her health whenever she leaves home for a competition.

Anastasia Belyakova (second from right) poses with her bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.   -  Getty Images

 

Did the Olympic medal make her grandmother happy? "Of course, she was happy, but not completely because I had some injuries. My grandmother doesn’t care about what medal I bring home. She is only concerned about my health," said Anastasia, who was taken to the hospital after severely injuring her left elbow during her 2016 Olympics semifinal bout against eventual champion Estelle Mossely in Rio de Janeiro.

Anastasia was happy to have earned the respect of the boys she trained with. "I used to go skiing. I tried boxing there and my coach said I had calibre. I continued boxing because boys around me started respecting me for being a girl who could box," she said.

She feels there is still a large gap between men's and women's boxing. "Girls are much weaker than boys (physically) and women’s boxing is a little different. The opinion is 50-50 -- some people respect women boxing and think women are powerful and some still think that girls don’t have to be in the sport of boxing," she said.