Nikhat Zareen, the World champion in 52kg, began her campaign in the 50kg weight class in style by recording a convincing victory over Azerbaijan’s Anakhanim Ismayilova in the first round of the World women’s boxing championships at the K.D. Jadhav Indoor Hall here on Thursday.
Nikhat, unseeded in the new weight despite being a Commonwealth Games champion, headlined a fruitful outing for the Indian boxers on the opening day. Three other home boxers, two-time World youth champion Sakshi Chaudhary (52kg), Asian bronze medallist Preeti (54kg) and National champion Nupur Sheoran (+81kg) also won comfortably.
Nikhat landed accurate punches to outsmart southpaw Anakhanim. Two standing counts in the first round and another in the second for Anakhanim prompted the referee to stop the contest in the second round.
“I am delighted to have started India’s campaign on a good note and hope to continue like this,” said Nikhat, who will meet top-seeded Algerian Boualam Roumaysa in the round of 32.
Sakshi defeated Colombia’s Maria Jose Henao 5-0. The taller Sakshi had no problems in breaching her opponent’s defence and delivering punches regularly. She will take on World youth silver medallist Zhazhira Urkabayeva next.
Preeti displayed her impressive attacking game to beat Hungarian Hanna Lakotar with the referee stopping the contest in Round 2. She will clash with top-seeded Romanian Perijoc Lacramioara in the round of 32.
With her father-cum-coach Sanjay Sheoran shouting instructions through a loud speaker from the stands, Nupur, the granddaughter of Asian Games champion - late Captain Hawa Singh - relied on her fine footwork to trounce Guyana’s Abiola Jackman 5-0. She will meet former World champion Lazzat Kungibayeva in the quarterfinals.
KOSOVO BOXER DISAPPOINTED
Kosovo boxer Donetja Sadiku, a 2022 Worlds bronze medallist, expressed her disappointment at being denied the “right to represent my country” in the World women’s championships.
It is learnt that Donetja got a different visa than what she had applied for, which the pugilist declined. Kosovo’s president Vjosa Osmani has urged the Indian Government to reconsider its decision.
Donetja was also denied visa for the 2018 World championships in New Delhi.
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