Indian boxers Nikhat Zareen (52 kg), Manisha (57 kg), and Parveen (63 kg) all advanced to the semi-finals of their respective weight classes at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul on Monday.
Nikhat thrashed Charley-Sian Davison of England 5-0, while young Parveen defeated Shoira Zulkaynarova of Tajikistan by the same score. Both qualified for the semi-finals.
However, in a hard-fought quarterfinal, Manisha defeated Mongolian Namuun Monkhor 4-1 on a split decision.
At the Strandja Memorial tournament earlier this year, Nikhat claimed her second gold medal of the tournament with a commanding performance, giving India their first medal of the tournament.
The 25-year-old Telangana boxer was in high spirits as she faced Davison in a brutal fight. In the first round, both boxers displayed their best attacking abilities.
In the second round, however, Nikhat pounded her opponent with powerful body shots and landed clean and precise punches to exhaust her.
Nikhat’s defensive prowess was on display in the final few minutes of her quarterfinal match after she had already won the first two rounds.
“My opponent was taller than me today, so my strategy was to block her right hand, which is her most powerful one.. I’m thrilled to be the first representative of India and am hoping to take home the gold ,” as Nikhat put it following the fight.
Caroline De Almeida of Brazil, who thrashed 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medalist Carly McNaul of Ireland, will be the next opponent for the former junior world champion.
The 24-year-old Manisha used her long reach to her advantage as she landed three clean punches in the tensely fought last eight bout. Irma Testa of Italy will be the next opponent for Manisha.
With time running out, coach Bhaskar Bhatt and the rest of the Haryana boxing team urged Parveen to go forward and attack from the sidelines, and the Haryana boxer gained the confidence to secure a memorable victory.
To make matters worse, Nitu (48 kg) was defeated by Kazakhstan’s reigning Asian champion Alua Balkibekova, 2-3, in the quarterfinals. Pooja Rani (81 kg), the two-time Asian champion, lost to Australia’s Jessica Bagley, 2-3, in the finals.
The announcer mispronounced the names of Pooja’s opponents, leading to some confusion about the outcome of the fight.
Even though Nitu is the reigning two-time youth world champion, she struggled to land punches early in the fight.
Balkibekova evaded the Indian’s attacks as the Kazakh boxer sped around the ring.
In the final round, Nitu managed to raise the stakes, but the judges ruled in her opponent’s favor and she lost.
Anamika (50kg), Jaisimine (60kg) and Nandini (+181kg) will compete in their quarter-final bouts later in the day..