Four accomplished Indians - Commonwealth Games champion Nitu Ghanghas (48kg), 52kg World champion Nikhat Zareen (50kg), 69kg Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (75kg) and Asian champion Saweety Boora (81kg) - will seek a record last clinched 2006, in the finals of the World women’s boxing championships at the K.D. Jadhav Hall here over the weekend.
While Nitu and Saweety will be seen in action on Saturday, Nikhat and Lovlina will take the ring on Sunday.
When the country hosted the event, in its early years before its Olympic debut, here 17 years ago, four of the five Indians in the finals had claimed the top honour.
Irrespective of the absence of some top nations due to a boycott and the clouds over the sport’s Olympic status the competition has reached a different level.
Following a hat-trick of Referee Stops Contest (RSC) wins, Nitu soaked pressure and avenged her defeat to Worlds silver medallist and Asian champion Alua Balkibekova in the semifinals. She will be keen to repeat her fine showing against Mongolian two-time Asian bronze medallist Altantsetseg Lutsaikhan to scale a new peak.
“Now I can seamlessly change my game according to my opponent and will continue to like this,” said Nitu.
For 30-year-old Saweety, who bagged a silver nine years ago, beating two tough opponents to enter the final was a big achievement. She will leave no stone unturned against China’s 2018 World champion Lina Wang. “I have a golden chance of changing my silver medal into gold,” said Saweety.
Nikhat, who overcame World and Olympic medallist Ingrit Valencia in the last-four, will seek to become the second woman boxer after M.C.Mary Kom to claim more than one gold at the World Championship. She performed exemplarily against strong rivals and will back herself once more, against Vietnam’s 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist Thi Tam Ngyuen. “For the first time, I am fighting in six bouts. I’m getting better with each fight,” said Nikhat.
Asian champion Lovlina, like Nikhat, is also seeking to assert herself in the new weight category. Following a rusty first round, she raised her game, on the way beating World and Olympic medal winner Li Qian, to ensure her third Worlds medal. She is looking forward to beating Australia’s two-time Commonwealth Games medallist Caitlin Parker. “The final will be tough. I will keep fighting,” said Lovlina.
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