Nineteen-year-old Preeti Sai Pawar displayed superb combination of skills and maturity to stun current silver medallist and top seed Lacramioara Perijoc in a fiercely-fought 54kg second round bout of the World Women’s Boxing Championships at the K.D. Jadhav Hall on Saturday.
Preeti pipped Romanian Lacramioara, the World No. 2 and a 2019 European champion, 4-3 following ‘bout review’ to set up a pre-quarterfinal clash with another 2022 Worlds silver medallist (52kg) Jutamas Jitpong of Thailand.
Commonwealth Games champion Nitu Ghanghas (48kg), who returned to action after a layoff, and National champion Manju Bamboriya (66kg) also won convincingly to spread cheers in the home camp.
An Asian bronze medallist, Preeti was magnificent in the second bout of her first World championship. She took the opening round 3-2 following a heavy exchange of punches and trailed 2-3 in the next.
Backed by a partisan crowd, Preeti maintained her composure. Relying on her quick feet, the Haryana boxer executed her counterattacks well even while taking care of her defence in the action-packed third round to emerge triumphant.
“I prepared hard, wanted to prove that I am no less. In the last round, I was taking a step back to avoid my opponent’s punches and counterattack,” said a confident Preeti.
Nitu rained punches to seize initiative against Asian bronze medallist Doyeon Kang of South Korea. Two counts on Doyeon were good enough for the referee to stop the contest in less than two minutes of the first round.
Nitu will meet Tajikistan’s Sumaiya Qosimova in the pre-quarters.
In her second World Championship after 2019, tall southpaw Manju got the better of five-time New Zealand champion Cara Wharerau with a 5-0 verdict. She will face Asian champion and No.1 seed Navbakhor Khamidova in the last-16.
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