Nikhat starts campaign with scintillating win, Sakshi, Nupur and Preeti also advance

New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) Ace Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen started the defence of her title with an emphatic RSC (referee stops contest) win over Anakhanim Ismayilova in the opening round of the Women’s World Championships here on Thursday.

Sakshi Chaudhary (52kg), Nupur Sheoran (+81kg) and Preeti (54kg) also progressed to the next round with comprehensive wins as Indian boxers dominated the proceedings on the opening day.

The tournament started with home favourite Nikhat’s bout and the pugilist did not disappoint. Competing in the 50kg category, the 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist took her time to judge her opponent, but once she figured out the Azerbaijan boxer’s game, there was no stopping her.

Nikhat, who is unseeded despite being the reigning champion, was at her aggressive best as she landed a flurry of combination punches on her opponent.

Such was the Indian’s domination that the referee had to give Ismayilova the ‘count’ thrice before stopping the contest in the second round.

On being unseeded, Nikhat said, “It’s not a problem. That’s the thing about draws, anyone can get any seeding. It doesn’t matter but my draw is good, as the competition goes on I’ll get tough opponents.” Nikhat will next face top seed, 2022 African champion Roumaysa Boualam, in the round of 32.

“I know that boxer but I haven’t played against her. I’m happy that India’s first bout started with me and hopefully, I will only end it.” Sakshi advanced to the pre-quarterfinals with a 5-0 unanimous decision win over Colombia’s Martinez Maria Jose in the first round.

Sakshi and Jose indulged in a fast-paced bout, where the Indian jabbed her way through.

Nupur, on the other hand, proved too strong for Abiola Jackman of Guyana in the pre-quarter bout.

Sakshi will now face Kazakhstan’s Urakbayeva Zhazira in the next round whereas debutant Nupur will be up against 2016 World champion Lazzat Kungeibayeva of Kazakhstan in the quarter-finals.

Like Nikhat, Preeti too notched a RSC win. The youngster beat Hungary’s Hanna Lakotar. She will be up against last edition’s silver medallist Lacramioara Perijoc of Romania in the second round.

Jaismine Lamboria (60kg), Shashi Chopra (63kg) and Shruti Yadav (70kg) will fight in the round of 32.

Rio Olympics champion Estelle Mossely (60kg) of France is scheduled to begin her campaign on the second day of the tournament on Friday along with some other top boxers, including five-time World Championships medallist Elif Guneri (75kg) of Turkey, reigning Asian champion Oh Yeon-Ji (60kg) of South Korea, and former world champions Italy’s Alessia Mesiano (60kg) and Lina Wang (81kg) of China.

Source: PTI News


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