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Nikhat Zareen wins historic gold for India at Women’s Boxing World Championships, defeats Thai Jutamas Jitpong

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date
Nikhat Zareen wins historic gold for India at Women’s Boxing World Championships, defeats Thai Jutamas Jitpong

New Delhi: India’s Nikhat Zareen won the gold medal in the 52kg category at the Women’s World Boxing Championship with a win over Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas in the fly-weight final in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday, May 19. This is India’s first gold medal in four years. Mary Kom (48kg) had won the last title in 2018.

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Capping off a stupendous campaign that saw her dominate all her rivals, the Telangana boxer out-punched her Thai opponent to win via unanimous verdict with judges scoring the bout 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in her favour.

With this win, Zareen, a 2019 Asian Championship bronze medallist, became only the fifth Indian female boxer to be crowned 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.

After the win, PM Modi took to Twitter and wrote: “Our boxers have made us proud! Congratulations to @nikhat_zareen for a fantastic Gold medal win at the Women’s World Boxing Championship. I also congratulate Manisha Moun and Parveen Hooda for their Bronze medals in the same competition.”

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Nikhat got off to a lively start and hit some sharp punches to quickly take the upper hand in the opening three minutes against confident Jutamas, who came into the match defeating the three-time World Championships medallist Kazakhstan’s Zhaina Shekerbekova.

The 25-year-old Indian took full advantage of her long reach and maintained her dominance against the Thai boxer, whom she had beaten in the 2019 Thailand Open semi-final—the only meeting between the two, enroute her silver medal finish.

However, Jutamas tried to fight back in the second round with a counter-attacking display but hardly managed to cause any trouble for the swift-moving Nikhat, who looked in complete control.Hitting straight and clear punches, strength proved to be a key factor as Nikhat threw caution to the wind in the final round and kept attacking relentlessly before securing the gold quite comfortably.

Apart from Zareen’s gold, Manisha Moun (57kg) and debutant Parveen Hooda (63kg) will return home with bronze medals.

A 12-member Indian contingent was sent to participate in the competition and while the medal haul has decreased by one, an Indian has been crowned world champion after four years, Mary Kom had last won the gold in the 48kg in the 2018 edition.

India’s best performance in the event remains the one in 2006 when the country snared eight medals, including four gold, one silver and three bronze. India now have won 39 medals, including 10 golds, eight silver and 21 bronze in the women’s world championships.

“Winning a medal at the world’s is always a dream and Nikhat could achieve it so early is extremely commendable. We, at BFI, are proud that our boxers have not only made all of us proud but each of their boxing journeys is inspiring for the upcoming generations,” BFI President Ajay Singh said.

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“On behalf of the Boxing Federation of India, I congratulate Nikhat and bronze medal winners Parveen and Manisha as well as the coaches and support staff for this achievement. Our eight boxers qualified for the quarter-finals which was joint most and shows the strength of Indian boxing,” he added.

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