Women’s World C’ships: Nikhat and three others move to quarterfinals

New Delhi, 21 Mar: A “fatigued” Nikhat Zareen continued her winning run to enter the quarterfinals along with three other pugilists, including Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Jaismine Lamboria, at the Women’s World Championships here on Tuesday.
Competing in her first international tournament in 50kg weight class, Nikhat saw off Mexico’s Patricia Alvarez Herrera 5-0 to notch up her third win of the tournament.
Commonwealth Games champion Nitu Ghanghas (48kg) won her bout with a first round RSC against Sumaiya Qosimova of Tajikistan, while last year’s bronze medallist Manisha Moun (57kg) got the better of Nur Elif Turhan of Turkey when the referee ruled in her favour in the third round.
Jaismine (60kg) came from a round down to overpower Mijgona Samadova of Tajikistan.
Shashi Chopra (63kg) and Manju Bamboriya (66kg), however, bowed out of the tournament.
While Shashi lost 0-4 to Mai Kito of Japan, Manju was literally out-punched by Navbakhor Khamidova of Uzbekistan.
Nikhat took a few seconds to decipher her opponent’s game plan before attacking. She used her nimble feet to duck away from Herrera’s counter attacks.
Both the boxers have moved down from the 52kg weight division. Well aware of the Mexican’s aggressive style of play, Nikhat used her speed to land accurate jabs and hooks.
Herrera, whom she had beaten in the last edition, tried her best to shift the momentum in her favour but Nikhat’s relentless attacks proved too strong.
Nikhat, who has already played three bouts, including one against the top seed, and is still three bouts away from the gold, said she is feeling fatigued.
“I am happy that I have defeated the person that has got seeding number one,” the unseeded Nikhat, who had several cuts on her lip, said after her bout.
“I still have some fatigue from my last round as it was against the top seed. It was tough and her punches landed pretty well so my neck was a little tight and my body a little slow compared to my last bout. But I am happy that I won unanimous this time.
“In my boxing career, this is the first competition that I’ll play six bouts because I didn’t get a seeding, but I am not focussing on that.”
Eight Indian pugilists — Nitu, Nikhat, Sakshi Choudhary (52kg), Manisha, Jaismine, Lovlina Borgohain (75kg), Saweety Boora (81kg) and Nupur Sheoran (+81kg) will compete in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Earlier in the opening session of the day, Nitu registered her second RSC win in as many bouts in the tournament.
Both Nitu and Qosimova tried to figure out each other’s game, but then the Indian connected four straight jabs which forced the referee to give the opponent her first standing count.
Nitu continued her onslaught as she cornered the Tajikistan pugilist and pummelled her with straight jabs.
The referee gave Qosimova her second standing count before calling the contest in the Indian’s favour much to the disappointment of her opponent, who kept showing the thumbs down gesture when the result was called.
The experienced Manisha used a straight jab followed by a combination of punches to assert her authority. (PTI)