Indian boxers Nikhat Zareen, Nitu Ghanghas and Manisha Moun extended their dazzling show at the Mahindra IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 2023 to progress 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 as she launched the attack from the word go, exhibiting quick movement. Herrera tried her best to shift the momentum in her favour but Nikhat’s relentless attack proved too strong.
Nikhat will be up against the Thai boxer Chuthamat Rakshat in the quarter-finals.
“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,” Nikhat said after the match.
This came after Nitu (48kg) and Manisha provided hosts a perfect start as they recorded a commanding Referee Stops Contest (RSC) 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.
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) who gave it her all but went down fighting 0-4 to Japan’s Mai Kito.
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.