New Delhi, March 16
It was an easy victory for Nikhat Zareen. Yet, the 26-year-old was overwhelmed with emotions after her opening bout of the Women’s World Boxing Championships.
Nikhat, who won the world title in the 52kg division at the previous edition, eased past Azerbaijan’s Anakhanim Ismayilova in the first round of the 50kg category.
Nikhat was so dominant in the bout that the referee stopped the contest early in the second round. This referee gave Ismayilova a standing count, her third in the space of a few minutes, before stopping the bout.
“I am emotional right now,” Nikhat said after her win. “Today was India’s first win and that is why I am a little emotional. I started the tournament for the country with a win and hope to do the same when it draws to a close,” she added.
Although Nikhat was circumspect in the opening exchanges of the bout, as soon as she had the measure of Ismayilova, the Indian unloaded her right hooks and jabs to subdue her opponent.
“We had a plan for her as being a southpaw her jab is her most potent weapon. So my strategy was to attack with my right and I was successful,” Nikhat said.
Nikhat acknowledged that as the tournament progresses, there will be bigger challenges for her. Nikhat will square up against the reigning African and Mediterranean champion Roumaysa Boualam of Algeria in the Round of 32.
“I haven’t had any chance to fight against her. We will surely look at her bout and come up with a strategy,” Nikhat said.
Sakshi, Nupur advance
Sakshi Chaudhary too had an easy start to the tournament as she advanced to the pre-quarterfinals in the 52kg category with a comfortable win over Colombia’s Martinez Maria Jose. Sakshi, who is making her debut in the tournament, impressed with her jabs and ring composure and was adjudged a 5-0 winner.
Nupur Sheoran, who is the granddaughter of legendary heavyweight boxer Hawa Singh, used her reach to subdue Guyana’s Abiola Jackman with an identical score of 5-0.
Nupur, who has jumped weight categories up to +81kg, was never in any trouble against her opponent. In fact, Jackman looked tired and spent after the first round itself.
“Both my grandfather and my father (Sanjay Sheoran) had this style so that explains why I have it as well,” Nupur said of her open stance while boxing. Nupur had recently recovered from an ACL tear.
Preeti advanced to the Round of 32 with a commanding win over Hungary’s Lakotar Hanna in the 54kg division. Preeti, who won a bronze medal in last year’s Asian Championships, won the referee stopped the bout in the second round.
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