Sofia (Bulgaria), Feb 5 (IANS) Reigning world champions Nikhat Zareen and Sakshi Chaudhary began their campaign with back-to-back victories at the 75th Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria on Monday.
Nikhat faced Mongolian Oyuntsetseg Yesugen in the 50kg bout. Both boxers came with intent to attack as they landed powerful punches at every opportunity.
The boxers were at their attacking best and have not given themselves any room to breathe. However, it was reigning world champion Nikhat who ultimately prevailed with a 3-2 split decision verdict. Nikhat will now face France’s Lkhadiri Wassila in their quarter-final clash on Thursday.
Sakshi (57 kg), on the other hand, outclassed Algeria’s Selmouni Chahira with her quick moments and surprise attacks. He dominated the match throughout the match to take an easy 5-0 unanimous decision victory to move into the quarterfinals. She will now face Uzbekistan’s Mamajonova Khumorabonu in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Preeti (54kg) fought a tough battle against Ireland’s Fay Niamh. Both fighters had their moments in the first two rounds with Fay taking the lead early on. Preeti made a remarkable comeback in the third round with all five judges leaning in her favor, but it wasn’t enough as she exited the tournament with a 2-3 loss.
In a surprising turn of events, Lovlina Borgohain (75kg) was disqualified in the third round of her pre-quarterfinal match after three cautions for excessive wrestling against Ireland’s Aoife O’Rourke. Manisha (60kg) and Arundhati Choudhary (66kg) will play tonight against France’s Zidani Amina and Sonvico Emilie respectively.
Late on Sunday, Jugnoo (86kg) secured a hard-fought 3-2 win over Ukraine’s Kocharian Ashot in the round of 16 clash. He will now face Uzbekistan’s Djalolov Samandar in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
On Tuesday, three men’s boxers will begin their campaign in their respective round of 16 matches. Sachin (57kg) will take on Uzbekistan’s Fayzov Khudoynazar, Vanshaj (63.5kg) will take on Iran’s Habibinezhad Ali and Sagar (92+kg) will take on Lithuania’s Jazeviciius Jonas.
The Strandja Memorial Tournament is one of the oldest international sports competitions in Europe and has the participation of more than 300 pugilists from 30 countries.