India’s Nikhat Zareen defeated Thailand's Jutamas Jitpong in the 52kg flyweight final of the Women’s World Boxing Championships 2022 on Thursday. The Indian boxer outplayed the Tokyo 2020 quarterfinalist 5-0. (More Sports News)
On Thursday, Nikhat Zareen beat Jitpong with a scoreline of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in her favour.
"I didn't expect to win (by such a big margin) in the final. I wanted to win unanimously," Nikat Zareen told reporters later.
The Indian pugilist 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.
"My aim was to play the first two round so that I win by unanimous decision and then relax in the third but I got a spilt decision score in the final so I had to go all out in the third round," she added.
Nikhat maintained her dominance in the bout. 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.
The 25-year-old Nikhat has become the fifth Indian boxer following MC Mary Kom, Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha Kozhummel Chettadi (2006) to win the world title. Notably, Mary Kom has won the honour six times in years 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018.
While Nikhat had advanced to the final after registering a comprehensive 5-0 win over Caroline De Almeida of Brazil in the semi-final, Jutamas had defeated two-time World Championships medallist Zhaina Shekerbekova of Kazakhstan 4-1 in the semi-final.
With Nikhat Zareen finishing at the top in 52 kg category, India end their IBA World Boxing Championship campaign with one gold and two bronze medals. Manisha Moun (57kg) and Parveen Hooda (63kg) were the ones to win the bronze medals. Out of 12 participating Indian boxers, eight made it to the quarter-finals in this year’s tournament - the joint highest alongside Turkey.
Notably, India's best performance at the event came in 2006 when they won eight medals, including four gold, one silver and three bronze.
(With BFI Inputs)