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India’s Nikhit Zareen wins Gold at Women’s World Boxing Championship to make it Fab Five

India’s Nikhat Zareen wins gold at the world boxing championship (Image courtesy: Boxing Federation of India

India's Nikhat Zareen won the gold medal at the Women's World Championship in the 52 kg category after convincingly defeating Thailand's Jitpong Jutamas in a brilliant final at Istanbul in Turkey today.

Nikhat joins the ranks of her compatriots Mary Kom, Sarita Devi, Jenny RL and Lekha KC to make India proud of a fabulous five gold-winning women’s list at the World Championships. The victory is also India's first gold medal since boxing great Mary Kom won the title in 2018.

The 25-year-old Nikhat, a former junior youth world champion, used both brain and brawn to outclass her quick-footed Thai opponent and bring home the gold medal for India.

Nikhat won the first round convincingly with her aggressive punching. However, the Thai boxer fought back to win the second round in a close 3-2 contest.

Nikhat then went all out in the final round and was at her aggressive best to clinch a 5-0 unanimous decision in her favour.

The Nizamabad (Telangana)-born boxer became the only fifth Indian woman to secure gold medal at the World Boxing Championships after record six-time champion Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha KC (2006).

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, enr oute 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.

"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.

"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.

With Manisha (57kg) and Parveen (63kg) signing off with bronze medals after their semi-finals finish, Indian contingent concluded its campaign with three medals at the world's biggest boxing event, which witnessed exciting competition in presence of record 310 boxers from 73 countries and also marked the 20th anniversary of the Women's World Championships.

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