Star Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen out-punched Algeria’s Boualam Roumaysa to secure a pre-quarterfinal berth in the Women’s World Championships here on Sunday.
Competing in the 50kg event, Nikhat beat the reigning African champion by a 5-0 unanimous verdict to notch her second win in the tournament.
Both boxers held themselves back initially and maintained a safe distance. Nikhat, who won gold in the last edition, drew first blood. The Algerian followed suit as the two pugilists tried to get the better of one other.
If Nikhat landed a few combination punches, Roumaysa capitalised on the Indian boxer’s open stance to land several blows.
However, the first round went in Nikhat’s favour and the Indian began the next round by going all out. Roumaysa too looked set to come forward and attack.
Both boxers played with aggression and resorted to lot of body clinching but in the end, much to delight of the Indian fans at the KD Jadhav Stadium, Nikhat emerged victorious.
“My strategy for today was to dominate the round as she (Roumaysa) was the top seed. There is an advantage of seeding. I did get a seeding. If I beat the top seeds, it sets an impression on the judges,” Nikhat said after the bout.
“I have seen her bouts before. She gets very aggressive if you are in close range. So, I had aimed to play from far but there was clinching and a bit of dirty game,” she added.
Later in the day, 2022 World Championships bronze medallist Manisha Maun (57kg) will open her campaign with the round of 32 bout against Rahimi Tina of Australia.