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Nikhat selected for boxing trials of Olympic qualifiers

Source: PTI
December 21, 2019 23:02 IST
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Nikhat Zareen

IMAGE: Mary Kom has been ranked one, Nikhat Zareen was given a second ranking, while Jyoti and Ritu have been ranked third and fourth respectively. Photograph: Nikhat Zareen/Twitter

Nikhat Zareen was, on Saturday, named among the Indian women boxers who will participate in the two-day trials scheduled for the Olympic qualifiers to be held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium from December 27.

After the selection committee meeting in New Delhi, Nikhat from Telengana was handed the fourth spot in the 51 kg category which already has the six-time World Champion MC Mary Kom, RSPB's Jyoti Gulia and Haryana's Ritu Grewal as other contenders.


Mary Kom has been ranked one, Nikhat was given a second ranking, while Jyoti and Ritu have been ranked third and fourth respectively.

According to the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), boxers ranked 1 and 4 will fight and boxers ranked 2 and 3 will play against each other.

"The winners of each bout will make it to the final trial match and the winners here in each of the 5 categories will then be selected to be part of the Indian Team to participate in the Olympic Qualifiers - Asia & Oceania in Wuhan from February 3-14, 2020," BFI said in a release.

Given the criteria, Nikhat will take on Jyoti, while Mary Kom will face Ritu with the winner of the two bouts set to face-off in a final trial match which will decide who makes it to the Indian team for the Olympic qualifiers.

Nikhat has been demanding a trial with Mary Kom for long and was set to face the Manipuri boxer in the Big Bout League. But citing a back injury, Mary Kom had pulled out of the bout in the eleventh hour.

A frustrated Nikhat then demanded a fair Olympic selection trials and asked the national federation to telecast the fight live.

In other weight categories, Sonia (RSPB) will lock horns with former World championship silver medallist Sonia Lather (RSPB), while Sakshi (Haryana) clashes with Manisha (Haryana) in 57kg.

In 60kg, former World champion L Sarita Devi (AIP) has been pitted against Shashi Chopra (Haryana) and Simranjit Kaur (Punjab) is set to fight Pavitra (RSPB).

In 69kg, two-time world championship bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (Assam) will face Anjali (Delhi), while Lalita (Rajasthan) takes on Meena Rani (RSPB).

In 75kg, Asian Games bronze medallist Pooja Rani will square off against Indraja KA from Kerela, while former world championship silver medallist Saweety Boora takes on Nupur in an all-Haryana bout.

Among men boxers, Vikash Krishan, who returned to amateur fold after a stint in professional boxing by winning a gold at South Asian Games, will also appear in the trials.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist will face Ashish, while Naveen Bora will lock horns with Duryodhan Singh Negi in 69kg.

In 57 kg, Kavinder Singh Bisht, a silver medallist at the 2019 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships, will meet 2018 CWG gold medallist Gaurav Solanki, while 2018 CWG bronze medallist Md Hussamudin will take on Sachin.

In 81kg, Rajasthan's Brijesh Yadav, Sachin Kumar of SSCB were named alongwith Sumit Sangwan, who will get a shot in the trials if he is cleared by NADA of doping charges.

2017 Asian Championship silver medallist Sumit had failed a dope test early this month.

In 75kg, Himachal Pradesh's Ashish Kumar will face off Ankit Khatana of Haryana for a place in the team.

In 91kg, RSPB's Naman Tanwar, Haryana's Naveen and SSCB's Gaurav Chauhan have been named, while Satish Kuar and Narender -- both from SSCB -- will fight in 91+kg category.

Gujarat Giants rally to claim top honours in Big Bout Indian Boxing League

Gujarat Giants, led by skipper Amit Panghal, pulled off a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over Punjab Panthers in a high-voltage final to win the inaugural Big Bout Indian Boxing League on Saturday.

Darshana Doot (women's 51kg) and Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Abdulmalik Khalakov (57kg) scored well-crafted victories to put Panthers 2-0 ahead, but the Ashish Kulheria (69kg) and Panghal (52kg) hauled the Giants back on track in the pulsating final.

The spirited and efficient Sonia Lather's split verdict win against legendary Sarita Devi in the classic women's 60kg bout took the Panthers one victory away from the crown.

But the Giants' heavyweight import from Scotland, Scott Forrest dished out a gutsy show to take the contest into the final bout of the boxing extravaganza.

Ashish Kumar then beat Yashpal in the climactic 75kg battle as Gujarat Giants took home the winners' trophy.

Ashish made use of his superior bodyweight and ring-craft to give Yashpal a few lessons. To the credit of the Indian Universities 69kg champion, he took the punishment pretty well and stretched Ashish into the third round.

Earlier, a string of three losses did not deter the left-handed Darshana Doot when she stepped into the ring on Saturday night.

She had been roped in when Punjab Panthers skipper MC Mary Kom faced a back problem.

From the first moment, she showcased her eagerness to sign off with a win against Rajesh Narwal. She executed her plans well and exerted her domination to securea 4-1 verdict.

The twinkle-toed and supremely confident Khalakov, who had lost to Chirag in the league stage, came with a specific plan.

He lost no time in landing punches, taking Chirag by surprise to make a strong impression on the judges in the opening round.

The Indian clawed back with counter-attacking tactics in the second round, forcing Khalakov to back-pedal in defence.

However, the young Uzbek star was ready with his own tactics in the final round, cramping Chirag's hooks and using a combination of jabs and upper cuts to complete a unanimous verdict.

The manner in which he controlled the pace of the bout was admirable and he deserved to celebrate with a couple of back-flips when the result was announced.

Asian Championship medallist Ashish Kulheria's win against the evergreen Manoj Kumar did not come as a surprise since the Panthers' star was fighting his second strenuous bout inside 24 hours.

Kulheria moved deftly through the bout in which Manoj could not find the rhythm or the space that he was looking for to make an impression on the judges.

Panghal walked in as favourite to beat PL Prasad a second time in the Big Bout and he crafted a unanimous victory.

Prasad's challenge was greater since he had to work harder in the ring to make an impression on the judges against a boxer who used his technique with great efficiency and productively.

Sonia Lather beat Sarita Devi in an intense battle that was as much with the mind as with the gloved fists.

In what was the best contest of the night, Sonia Lather did well to gain the upperhand in the first round. She stayed in front, though the vastly experienced Sarita Devi was not giving up till the last moment.

With his team facing a do-or-die situation, Scott made light of a bleeding cut on his temple early in his fight to eke out a very important win. He was light on his feet and landed heavy punches through the slightest of gaps in the Indian heavyweight's guard and emerged a comfortable winner in the end.

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