Promising youngster Nitu Ghanghas and experienced hand Saweety Boora boxed out of their skin to overcome tough opponents in the 48kg and 81kg finals and claim their maiden titles in the World women’s boxing championships at the K.D. Jadhav Hall here on Saturday.
While Commonwealth Games champion and double World youth champion Nitu recorded a 5-0 victory over two-time Asian bronze medallist Altantsetseg Lutsaikhan of Mongolia, Asian champion Saweety stunned 2018 champion Lina Wang 4-3, through bout review, to keep her promise of improving upon her 2014 Worlds silver medal.
After the 2006 edition, this is the second occasion when Indian boxers secured more than one gold medal.
Nitu attacked quickly to push the Mongolian on the back foot. The alert Indian southpaw delivered right-left combinations to win the first round.
When Altantsetseg tried to catch up, Nitu kept her cool despite falling down a few times in the physical second round. The Indian was penalised for holding but still won the round 3-2.
The Mongolian showed more aggression even as the Bhiwani girl scored through counters. Altantsetseg paid the price for her rough game when she was punished for pushing. Practically it ended her chance of a comeback.
Amidst wild celebrations by the spectators, an emotional Nitu was patted on the back by chief coach Bhaskar Bhatt and was carried on her shoulders by coach Pranamika Bora. A word of compliment from fellow World and Olympic medallist and fellow Bhiwani boxer Vijender Singh was a bonus for the 22-year-old.
“I feel very proud. I can’t thank my head coach Bhaskar Bhatt enough. Before the fight I wanted to be aggressive, but during the fight my coaches asked me to counterattack,” said Nitu.
Against the taller Chinese, Saweety gained by applying her plan of moving in and landing rapid-fire shots. Even as Lina returned the favour through clean counters, the home boxer took the first two rounds with an identical 3-2 margin.
The third round, which witnessed a lot of physical tussle, Saweety, despite falling twice, matched her opponent to emerge as the winner.
In a bizarre development, the organisers apologised for playing the wrong anthem during the 70kg medal ceremony, featuring Russian winner Anastasiia Demurchian, and later played the correct anthem with the Russian champion standing alone on the podium.
The results (finals): 48kg: Nitu Ghanghas bt Altantsetseg Lutsaikhan (Mgl) 5-0; 52kg: Yu Wu (Chn) bt Sirine Charaabi (Ita) 5-0; 57kg: Irma Testa (Ita) bt Karina Ibragimova (Kaz) 5-0; 63kg: Chengyu Yang (Chn) bt Nataliya Sychugova (Rus) 4-1; 70kg: Anastasiia Demurchian (Rus) bt Kaye Scott (Aus) 5-0; 81kg: Saweety Boora bt Lina Wang (Chn) 4-3.
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