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Women’s World Boxing C’ships: Nikhat Zareen, Nitu Ghanghas lead India’s charge into quarterfinals

While Nikhat and Jaismine won by 5-0 unanimous decisions, Nitu and Manisha recorded commanding Referee-Stops-Contest wins in their respective matches.

Indian boxers Nikhat Zareen, Nitu Ghanghas, Manisha Moun and Jaismine extended their dazzling show at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships as they progressed into the quarter-finals with dominating victories at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The defending champion Nikhat outpunched Mexican pugilist Fatima Herrera comfortably by unanimous decision in the 50kg pre-quarterfinals. The Indian made an aggressive start and launched the attack from the word go, exhibiting quick movement as she proved too strong for Herrera.

“I played this boxer in the last World Championships too and had won. She was a little tougher today than last time. My weight category has changed from 52 to 50kg and my speed has increased but I still have to work on some things. I am happy that I played well today. Each player that I have played till now was tough,” said Nikhat, who will be up against the Thai boxer Chuthamat Rakshat in the quarter-finals.

Jaismine also put up an equally strong performance during her 5-0 win against Tajikistan’s Mijgona Samadova in the 60kg Last-16 bout.

This came after Nitu (48kg) and Manisha provided hosts a perfect start as they recorded a commanding Referee Stops Contest wins in their respective matches.

While the 2022 Commonwealth Games champion Nitu made a cautious start but took less than six minutes to force the referees to end the contest against Tajikistan’s Sumaiya Qosimova, Manisha and Turkey’s Nur Turhan exchanged heavy punches during an intense 57kg match.

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However, Manisha, who won bronze in the last edition, quickly shifted the gears to take the charge before completing a convincing victory in the end. She will next take on French pugilist Amina Zidani in the quarter-finals whereas Nitu will face Japan’s Madoka Wada of Japan.

Meanwhile, it was heartbreak for Shashi Chopra (63kg) and Manju Bamboriya (66kg) who suffered to Japan’s Mai Kito (0-4) and Uzbekistan’s current Asian champion Navbakhor Khamidova (0-5) respectively.

Lovlina Borgohain (75kg), Sakshi Choudhary (52kg), Nupur Sheoran (+81kg) and Saweety Boora (81kg) are the other Indian boxers who have already secured their places in the quarter-finals.

Quarter-finals will be played on Wednesday at the prestigious event, which is witnessing the participation of 324 boxers, including several Olympic medallists, from 65 countries fighting for the titles in the 12 weight categories.

In a major upset of the day, Venezuela’s Omailyn Alcala stunned the former world champion and Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Nesthy Petecio of Philippines with a thrilling 4-3 victory in the hard-fought 57kg contest.

Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Irma Testa (57kg), on the other hand, had an easy outing as she continued her winning momentum with a comfortable 5-0 victory against Vietnam’s Hao Nguyen Thi in the 57kg Last-16 match.

Indian bouts on March 22 (All quarter-finals)

1: Nitu (48kg) vs Madoka Wada of Japan- 2:15 PM (QF, Ring A)

2: Sakshi (52kg) vs Yu Wu of China- 2:45 PM (QF, Ring A)

3: Manisha (57kg) vs Amina Zidani of France- 3:15 PM (QF, Ring A)

4: Saweety (81kg) vs Viktoriya Kebikava of Belarus- 4:30 PM (QF, Ring A)

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5: Nikhat Zareen (50kg) vs Chuthamat Raksat of Thailand-6 PM (QF, Ring A)

6: Jaismine (60kg) vs Paola Valdez of Colombia- 7:15 PM (QF, Ring A)

7: Lovlina (75kg) vs Adosinda Rady Gramane of Mozambique- 8 PM (QF, Ring A) 8: Nupur (81+kg) vs Lazzat K

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