Women’s World Boxing Championships: Nikhat Zareen Begins Title Defence With Clinical Win

New Delhi: Reigning boxing world champion and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen began her title defence of the world championship with a dominant (referee stops contest) win over Anakhanim Ismayilova in the first round on Thursday.

Given her performances in the past, Nikhat headed into the contest as the favourite and she did no harm to her reputation with the kind of performance she produced. Competing in the 50kg category, Nikhat initially took her time to assess her opponent, but once she figured the Azerbaijan boxer’s tactics in the contest, she came to her own.

Nikhat, who is unseeded despite being the reigning champion, was at her aggressive best as she landed a flurry of combination punches on her opponent.

Such was the Indian’s domination that the referee had to give Ismayilova the ‘count’ thrice before stopping the contest in the second round.

Meanwhile, Zareen has hoped that she would be able to continue her performance in the upcoming bouts.

On being unseeded, Nikhat said, “It’s not a problem. That’s the thing about draws, anyone can get any seeding. It doesn’t matter but my draw is good, as the competition goes on I’ll get tough opponents.” Nikhat will next face top seed, 2022 African champion Roumaysa Boualam, in the round of 32.

“I know that boxer but I haven’t played against her. I’m happy that India’s first bout started with me and hopefully, I will only end it.” Sakshi (52kg) advanced to the pre-quarterfinals with a 5-0 unanimous decision win over Colombia’s Martinez Maria Jose in the first round.

Debutant Sakshi and Jose indulged in a fast-paced bout, where the Indian jabbed her way through.

(With Inputs From PTI)

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