Nikhat Zareen made history on Thursday as the 25-year-old boxer became the fifth pugilist from India to win a gold medal at the Women’s World Championships. She defeated Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas in the 52kg category in in Istanbul, Turkey. It was also India’s first gold medal at the World Championships since boxing great Mary Kom won it in 2018. With Manisha (57kg) and Parveen (63kg) signing off with bronze medals after their semi-final finish, Indian contingent concluded its campaign with three medals at the world’s biggest boxing event.
The performance of the boxers impressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Our boxers have made us proud! Congratulations to @nikhat_zareen for a fantastic Gold medal win at the Women’s World Boxing Championship. I also congratulate Manisha Moun and Parveen Hooda for their Bronze medals in the same competition,” PM Modi tweeted.
Our boxers have made us proud! Congratulations to @nikhat_zareen for a fantastic Gold medal win at the Women’s World Boxing Championship. I also congratulate Manisha Moun and Parveen Hooda for their Bronze medals in the same competition. pic.twitter.com/dP7p59zQoS
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 19, 2022
Nikhat thrashed Jutamas without breaking the sweat in the 52kg final with judges scoring the bout 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in the Indian’s favour.
The Nizamabad (Telangana)-born boxer became the only fifth Indian woman to secure gold medal at the World Boxing Championships after record six-time champion Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha KC (2006). Nikhat got off to a lively start and hit some sharp punches to quickly take the upper hand in the opening three minutes against confident Jutamas, who came into the match defeating the three-time World Championships medallist Kazakhstan’s 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 2019 Thailand Open semi-final—the only meeting between the two, enroute her silver medal finish.
However, Jutamas tried to fight back in the second round with a counter-attacking display but hardly managed to cause any trouble for the swift-moving Nikhat, who looked in complete control.
Hitting straight and clear punches, strength proved to be a key factor as Nikhat threw caution to the wind in the final round and kept attacking relentlessly before securing the gold quite comfortably.
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