Star boxer Nikhat Zareen gave India’s effort at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships an impressive start on Thursday at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi with a commanding victory. Sakshi Chaudhary, Nupur Sheoran, and Preeti also had successful outings. The 26-year-old boisterous boxer from Telangana, who won the 52kg gold at the previous competition in Istanbul. Nikhat Zareen kicked off her title defence in impressive fashion by defeating Anakhanim Ismayilova in the 50kg opening round match with the Referee Stops Contest (RSC) decision. In a fight the boxers from Azerbaijan appeared clueless in the face of Zareen’s powerful jabs and quick movement. In the second round, the Indian will compete against Algeria’s top-seeded Roumaysa Boualam.
The bronze medalists from the 2021 Asian Championships Chaudhary and Sheoran also achieved decisive victories with identical 5-0 margins in their respective matches, further extending India’s dominance on the first day.
With unmatched technical skill, Chaudhary defeated Colombian Maria Jose Martinez in the 52 kg Round of 32. Abiola Jackman of Guyana was defeated in the Round of 16 by Sheoran (+81kg), who proved to be too powerful. The 2016 World Champion from Kazakhstan, Lazzat Kungeibayeva, will challenge Sheoran in the quarterfinals. Chaudhary will now play Urakbayeva Zhazira of Kazakhstan in the following round.
Later, Preeti’s RSC victory over Hanna Lakotar of Hungary in the 54 kg opening round ensured that the hosts would go undefeated on the first day of the competition. In the second round, she will compete against Romania’s Lacramioara Perijoc, the silver medalist from the previous competition.
The winner of the Rio Olympics
Estelle Mossely of France (60 kg), will begin her campaign on the second day of the competition on Friday. Along with a number of other top boxers, including Elif Guneri of Turkey (75 kg), five-time World Championship medalist. Current Asian Champion Oh Yeon-Ji of South Korea (60 kg), and former world champions Alessia Mesiano of Italy (60 kg) and Lina Wang of China (81 kg).
Among Indians, Jaismine Lamboria (60kg), Shashi Chopra (63kg) and Shruti Yadav (70kg) will fight in the Round-of-32.
The tournament has a massive prize pool of Rs 20 crore.