Nikhat Zareen, who was declared the winner by a unanimous 5-0 verdict, thus became the fifth Indian to win gold at the World Boxing Championships.
Nikhat Zareen has become only the fifth Indian boxer to win gold at the Women’s World Championships. Image credit: Twitter/@BFI_official
Nikhat Zareen capped a dominant run at the 2022 IBA Women’s World Championships in Istanbul by beating Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas in the 52kg final to secure India’s first gold of the competition.
In the process, Telangana native Zareen became only the fifth Indian boxer to win gold at the World Championships. Zareen once again dominated the final against the Thai pugilist in a 5-0 unanimous decision victory.
Zareen, who was also crowned youth world champion earlier in her career, had won all of her fights by a similar margin in her run for gold, having beaten Brazil’s Caroline De Almeida in the semi-finals earlier. .
MC Mary Kom, a six-time world champion and Olympic bronze medalist in 2012, is among four other Indian women to win gold in the elite competition, with the most recent of those wins coming in 2018 in New Delhi. The other Indian winners are L Sarita Devi, Jenny RL and Lekha C.
Besides Nikhat, Manisha Moun (57kg) and Parveen Hooda (63kg) picked up bronze after losing their semi-final bouts to Irma Testa and Amy Broadhurst respectively.
Living up to expectations, Nikhat defeated Jutamas without breaking a sweat in the 52kg final with judges scoring the fight 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in favor of the Indian .
Nikhat got off to a spirited start and landed a few sharp punches to quickly get the upper hand in the opening three minutes against confident Jutamas, who came into the match beating three-time World Championships medalist Kazakhstan Zhaina Shekerbekova.
The 25-year-old Indian took full advantage of her long reach and maintained her dominance against the Thai boxer, whom she had beaten in the semi-finals of the 2019 Thailand Open – the only meeting between the two, en route to his silver medal.
Jutamas attempted to retaliate in the second round with a counter-attacking display, but barely managed to cause trouble for the fast-moving Nikhat, who looked in complete control.
Hitting straight, clear and powerful shots proved to be a boon as Nikhat threw caution to the wind on the final round and continued to attack relentlessly before claiming gold quite comfortably.
The tournament witnessed exciting competition attended by a record 310 female boxers from 73 countries and also marked the 20th anniversary of the Women’s World Championships.
Of 12 participating Indian boxers, eight have reached the quarter-finals of this year’s tournament – the highest with Turkey.
With the addition of three medals in Istanbul, India’s medal tally at the Women’s World Boxing Championships rose to 39, including 10 gold, eight silver and 21 bronze in the 12 editions of this prestigious event. This is the third highest figure behind Russia (60) and China (50).
With ANI inputs