Nikhat Zareen became the fifth Indian boxer to win a gold medal at the Women’s World Boxing Championships when she defeated Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday. Living up to the expectations, 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. Nikhat 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).
After the win, Nikhat was congratulated on Twitter by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other top personalities. She was also elated to learn that she was trending on Twitter.
“Am I trending on Twitter? That was one of my dreams,” an elated Nikhat told mediapersons during a virtual interaction.
“When I won the gold medal, I first remembered my parents because they have done so much in making me a boxer.”
It was also India’s first gold medal since boxing great Mary Kom won it in 2018.
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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