Another proud moment came India’s way as 25-year-old boxer Nikhat Zareen won the gold medal at the Women’s World Boxing Championships. Zareen beat Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas in the 52kg fly-weight category to finish at the top of the podium in Istanbul, Turkey. Nikhat won by a unanimous decision of 5-0.
Against her Thai opponent in the final, Zareen fought with sheer brilliance and brought the top medal home. The judges scored the bout 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in the Indian’s favor. The Telangana boxer was in top form as she used her technical acumen and covered to court well to outwit her nimble-footed opponent.
Nikhat managed to leave a positive impression on all the judges in the first round itself as she landed far more punches than the Thai boxer. However, the Thai boxer made a comeback in the second round tighter as Jitpong clinched it 3-2. Needing to get just one judge on her side in the final round, Nikhat went all guns blazing at her opponent and slammed the door to eventually record a 5-0 unanimous decision in her favor.
Nikhat scripts history!
With her win at the World Championships, Zareen became the fifth women boxer to be crowned as World Champion. Six-time champion Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2018) Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha KC (2006) are the other pugilists who have won the world title. It was also India’s first gold medal since boxing great Mary Kom won it in 2018.
Other boxers also impressed as Manisha (57kg) and Parveen (63kg) returned home with a bronze medal. Notably, out of 12 participating Indian boxers, eight made it to the quarter-finals in this year’s tournament—the joint highest alongside Turkey. With three medals this year, India’s tally has now reached 39 including 10 gold, eight silver, and 21 bronze, in the 12 editions of the prestigious event. Only Russia (60) and China (50) are ahead of India.