Nineteen-year-old Preeti Sai Pawar displayed a superb combination of skills and maturity to stun current silver medallist and top seed Lacramioara Perijoc in a fiercely-fought 54kg second round bout of the World women’s boxing championships at the K.D. Jadhav Hall here on Saturday.
Preeti pipped Romanian Perijoc, the World No. 2 and a 2019 European champion, 4-3 following ‘bout review’ to set up a pre-quarterfinal clash with another 2022 Worlds silver medallist (52kg) Jutamas Jitpong of Thailand.
Commonwealth Games champion Nitu Ghanghas (48kg), who returned to action after a lay-off, and National champion Manju Bamboriya (66kg) also won convincingly to spread cheers in the home camp.
An Asian bronze medallist, Preeti was magnificent in the second bout of her first World championship. She took the opening round 3-2 following a heavy exchange of punches and trailed 2-3 in the next.
Backed by a partisan crowd, Preeti maintained her composure. Relying on her quick feet, the Haryana boxer executed her counter-attacks well even while taking care of her defence in the action-packed third round to emerge triumphant.
“I prepared hard, wanted to prove that I am no less. In the last round, I was taking a step back to avoid my opponent’s punches and counter-attack,” said a confident Preeti.
Nitu rained punches to seize initiative against Asian bronze medallist Doyeon Kang of South Korea.
Two counts on Doyeon were good enough for the referee to stop the contest in less than two minutes of the first round.
Nitu will meet Tajikistan’s Sumaiya Qosimova in the pre-quarters.
In her second World championship after 2019, tall southpaw Manju got the better of five-time New Zealand champion Cara Wharerau with a 5-0 verdict.
She will face Asian champion and No.1 seed Navbakhor Khamidova in the last-16.
Important results (preliminary rounds):
48kg: Madoka Wada (Jpn) bt Chien-Ling Liu (Tpe) 5-0; Sumaiya Qosimova (Tjk) 4-3; Nitu Ghanghas bt Doyeon Kang RSC-R1; Iuliia Chumgalakova (Rus) bt Ngyuen Thi Hoi (Vie) bt 5-0; Farzona Fozilova (Uzb) bt Roberta Bonatti (Ita) 5-0; Tantsetseg Lutsaikhan (Mgl) bt Rim Bennama (Fra) 5-0; Lilla Szeleczki (Hun) bt Yasmine Mouttaki (MAr) 5-0.
54kg: Delphine Mancini (Fra) bt Estefani de Leon (Dom) 4-1; Karina Tazabekova (Rus) bt Regina Benilde (Moz) 3-1; Preeti Sai Pawar bt Lacramioara Perijoc 4-3; Jutamas Jitpong (Tha) bt minu Gurung (Nep) 5-0; Enkhjargal Munguntsetseg (Mgl) bt Widad BErtal (Mar) 3-0; Tiana Echegaray (Aus) bt Hana Narita (Jpn) 4-1; Iulia Coroli (Mda) bt Fatima Hedjala (Alg) 3-1; Zhaina Shekerbekova (Kaz) bt Aeji Im (Kor) (Kaz) 4-1.
66kg: Beatriz Soares (Bra) bt Maria Hernandez (Gua) 5-0; Liu Yang (Chn) bt Nien-Chin Chen (Tpe) 5-0; Manju Bamboriya bt Cara Wharerau (NZ) 5-0; Milena Matovic (Srb) bt Sema Caliskan (Tur) 5-0; Emilie Sonvico (Fra) bt Angela Carini (Ita) 4-3; Nadezhda Ryabets (Kaz) bt Sujin Seon (Kor) 4-3; Ivanusa Gomes (Cpv) bt Francinah Kasemang (Bot) 5-0.