Nikhat Zareen wins gold at women’s World Boxing Championships; Enters elite list of Mary Kom, four others

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Nikhat Zareen
Nikhat Zareen is a former junior youth world champion. (PC Twitter)

Istanbul: Indian puddler Nikhat Zareen won the gold medal in the 52kg division at the Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday, defeating Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas in the fly-weight final. It was also India’s first gold medal since Mary Kom, the boxing legend won it in 2018.

Nikhat became the fifth Indian women’s boxer after Mary Kom, Sarita Devi, Jenny RL, and Lekha KC to win a gold at the World Championships. The former junior youth world champion fought with brilliance and brought home the gold medal. The judges scored the bout 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in the Indian’s favor.

Zareen was in fine form, using her technical prowess and excellent court coverage to deceive her quick-footed opponent. In the opening round, Nikhat impressed all three judges by landing many more blows than the Thai fighter. The second round was more competitive, and Jitpong won it 3-2. With just one judge on her side in the last round, Nikhat went all in and slammed the door in her opponent’s face, finally winning a 5-0 unanimous decision.

With bronze medals for Manisha (57kg) and Parveen (63kg) in the semi-finals, the Indian contingent finished with three medals at the world’s biggest boxing event, which featured an exciting tournament in the presence of a record 310 boxers from 73 countries and also marked the 20th anniversary of the Women’s World Championships.

In this year’s tournament, eight Indian boxers made it to the quarter-finals, which is tied with Turkey for the most.

With the addition of three medals in Istanbul, India’s total medal count in the 12 editions of the renowned tournament has risen to 39, including 10 gold, eight silver, and 21 bronze, making it the third most behind Russia (60) and China (50).

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