Women’s World Championships: India eye strong show at home as Nikhat, Lovlina lead charge in boxing Worlds : The Tribune India

Women’s World Championships: India eye strong show at home as Nikhat, Lovlina lead charge in boxing Worlds

Women’s World Championships: India eye strong show at home as Nikhat, Lovlina lead charge in boxing Worlds

Former champion MC Mary Kom (in green) and India’s flagbearers Nikhat Zareen and Lovlina Borgohain during the opening ceremony of the World Championships in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 15

Nikhat Zareen will find out over the next few days how tough it will be for her in the new weight division. The reigning world champion in the 52kg category will compete in the flyweight (50kg) division at the Women’s World Boxing Championships that get underway here tomorrow.

The 26-year-old has competed in the 50kg category once before when she won gold at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Since she hasn’t competed often enough in this category, the Hyderabad boxer is unseeded in the tournament.

Nikhat has been drawn in the same half that features top seed Roumaysa Boualam of Algeria. Boualam is the reigning African and Mediterranean champion.

It means that Nikhat, who is drawn to face Azerbaijan’s Anakhanim Ismayilova in the Round of 64, will have to fight Boualam in the second round. Boulam is not the only pedigreed pugilist that can derail Nikhat’s dream of becoming a world champion at home.

Rio Olympics bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia of Colombia and Tokyo Olympics bronze winner Tsukimi Namiki of Japan are the other threats to her.

Tokyo Games bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain, who has jumped weight categories from 69kg to 75kg has received a bye in the opening round and will face Mexico’s Vanessa Ortiz in the Round of 16. Lovlina had won the Asian Championships gold in the 75kg division, but she is still finding her feet in the new weight class.

For Saweety Boora (81kg), the quarterfinal will be her first bout of the tournament as there weren’t many entries in the weight division.

The spotlight will also be on CWG champion Nitu Ganghas (48kg) and last edition’s bronze medallist Manisha Maun (57kg).

Only four Indians will be in action tomorrow — Nikhat (50kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (52kg), Preeti (54kg) and Nupur Sheoran (+81kg).

Sanamcha ruled out

Meanwhile, Sanamcha Chanu, who is a product of Mary Kom Boxing Academy, was ruled out of the 70kg division. Chanu, who was to make her senior debut at the tournament, suffered a concussion during a sparring session. She has been replaced by Shruti Yadav, who will square up against China’s Pan Zhou in the opening round.

Home advantage?

India returned with a haul of three medals, including a gold, in the last edition. The Indian team would hope to match its 2006 performance at home, when the boxers won eight medals, including four gold.

Boycott

Over 10 countries, including USA, Britain and Ireland, pulled out of the event after the IBA, headed by Russian Umar Kremlev, allowed boxers from Russia and Belarus to compete under their own flag against the IOC’s recommendation.

Lovlina Borgohain

The focus has been on improving the power in my punches as my opponents (in 75kg) will be much stronger than what I encountered in the 69kg category — Lovlina Borgohain

Nikhat Zareen

I am fully prepared for the tournament. My target is gold but each and every medal counts — Nikhat Zareen

Tribune Shorts


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