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Boxing World C'ships: Four medals assured for India; Nikhat, Nitu lead charge

Nikhat Zareen and Nitu Ghangas lead the charge as four Indians qualify for the semi-finals of the Boxing World Championships.

Boxing World Cships: Four medals assured for India; Nikhat, Nitu lead charge

Pritish Raj

Updated: 23 March 2023 2:18 AM GMT

New Delhi: Nitu dominated another bout, Saweety played the patience game, Lovlina dazzled and Nikhat battled hard as they reached the semi-finals and confirmed four medals at the ongoing Boxing World Championships in Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.

Nitu Ghanghas started the day for India with another Referee Stops Contest (RSC) win as she reached the semi-finals of the 48 kg category.

The boxer from Bhiwani was at her fluent best as she took some time before landing a flurry of punches on her Japanese opponent in the first round. Her aggression compelled the referee to give the first standing count to the Japanese.

Halfway into the second round, Nitu landed a clean combination of punches forcing the referee to stop the contest and rule it in favor of the Indian boxer. This win means Nitu has won all three bouts by RSC in this tournament.

“I have been able to apply 100% apply of my practice in the ring so far and going into the next match I feel good I have won all my three bouts by RSC", Nitu told the media after her win.

While it was a cakewalk for Nitu, reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen had to earn her win by battling her tight body and a stubborn opponent from Thailand.

Playing against Raksat Chuthamat in the 50 kg category, Nikhat won the bout by a split decision of 5:2.

In a balanced bout, Nikhat started well but was soon met by a similar amount of aggression from her opponent. They both exchanged punches and were constantly pushing each other.

The bout went to a review as Nikhat had won the first two rounds 3:2 but the Thai came out clean in the final round by 1:4. The result of the review favored the Indian boxer as she edged her Thai opponent on technical superiority.

It was a moment of chaos in the arena as the result announcement of the bout in the adjacent ring confused the Thai boxer making her believe that she won as gasps rang around the hall. The result later declared Nikhat as the winner.

Nikhat later explained that she had planned to play around in the third round. "Yes, today's bout was stressful but I won by a split decision so I am really happy that I secured a medal for my country, and going forward I'll win the gold medal too. My strategy today was to win in the first 2 rounds and then play around in the last," she told the media after her win.

Playing her third bout of the tournament, Nikhat said," All the bouts I have had till now were powerful but for me, it's been a good experience to keep moving forward and defeating them so hopefully I will keep moving forward like this, and fight for my country."

In the 81 kg category, Saweety Boora came clean against her Bulgarian opponent Viktoriya Kebikava by unanimous decision to confirm the third medal for the host country.

Later in the day, Olympic bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain reigned supreme against the 2022 World Championships bronze medalist to confirm the fourth medal for India.

Meanwhile, the two-time World Youth champion Sakshi Chaudhary (52kg), Commonwealth bronze medalist Jaismine Lamboria (60 kg), and the 2022 World Championships bronze medallist Manisha Moun (57kg) went down fighting in the quarter-finals despite their best efforts. While Sakshi lost 0:5 against Wu Lu of China, Jaismine lost against Valdez Pana of Colombia and Manisha lost 1:4 against Amina Zidani of France to bow out of the competition.

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