Nikhat Zareen (52kg), Manisha (57kg) and Parveen (63kg) continued their stellar run at the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Istanbul on Monday by advancing to the semifinals but five other Indians bowed out after suffering quarterfinal losses. (More Sports News)
Confirming their first World Championships medals with a place in the semifinals, Nikhat out-punched England’s Charley-Sian Davison 5-0 while young Parveen got the better off Shoira Zulkaynarova of Tajikistan with an identical margin.
Manisha, on the other hand, dispatched Mongolia's Namuun Monkhor in a hard-fought quarterfinal by a 4-1 split decision.
However, it was the end of the road for Nitu (48kg), seasoned campaigner Pooja Rani (81kg), Anamika (50kg), Jaismine (60kg) and Nandini (+81kg).
Continuing her stellar run from the prestigious Strandja Memorial tournament where she won the gold earlier this year, Nikhat handed India its first medal at this year's tournament with an impressive victory.
The 25-year-old Telangana boxer was all pumped up in her highly physical bout against Davison. Both boxers were attacking each other ferociously in the first round.
However, the second round was a one way street as Nikhat pounded her opponent with terrific body shots to tire her out while also landing clean and sharp punches.
With the two rounds in the bag, Nikhat then displayed her defensive skills as she no longer felt the need to be on the offensive in the final few minutes of her quarterfinal bout.
"My opponent was taller than me today, so my strategy was to block her right hand which is her strength. I am delighted to give India the first medal, hope I can win the gold," Nikhat said after the bout.
The former junior world champion will next square off against Caroline De Almeida of Brazil, who thrashed the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver winner Carly McNaul of Ireland by unanimous decision.
In another bout, the 24-year-old Manisha moved around the ring and used her long reach to great effect as she threw clean punches in the closely fought last eight contest. She will take on Italy's Irma Testa next.
In the fourth Indian bout of the day, Parveen initially seemed hesitant to attack and looked out of depth but as the seconds ticked away and coach Bhaskar Bhatt and the support staff encouraged her to go forward and attack from the sideline, the Haryana boxer gained confidence to notch up a memorable win.
She will be up against Ireland’s Amy Broadhurst in the semifinal.
Anamika and Jaismine fell short of securing medals on their debut appearance at the world event after enduring 0-5 and 1-4 losses respectively.
Anamika lost to Rio Olympic bronze medallist Colombia's Ingrit Valencia and Jaismine succumbed to Rashida Ellis of USA.
Nandini, who had received a first round bye, was handed a 0-5 loss by Morocco's Khadija Mardiin in her opening bout.
Nitu ended her campaign with a 2-3 split verdict quarterfinal loss to reigning Asian champion Alua Balkibekova of Kazakhstan, while two-time Asian champion Pooja went down 2-3 also via a split verdict to Australia's Jessica Bagley.
There was a bit of confusion with Pooja's result as the announcer mixed up the name of the two boxers.
Nitu, who is a two-time youth world champion, started the bout cautiously, enticing her opponent to come at her but struggled to land punches herself.
The Indian tried hard to break Balkibekova's defences as the Kazakh boxer moved around swiftly. Nitu managed to up the ante in the final round but it was too late as the judges ruled in her opponent's favour.
India won four medals, including a silver and three bronze, in the last edition of the tournament.