: Nikhat Zareen, the world champion in 52kg, began her campaign in style in the 50kg weight class by recording a convincing victory over Azerbaijan’s Anakhanim Ismayilova in the first round of the World women’s boxing championships at the K.D. Jadhav Indoor Hall here on Thursday.
Nikhat, unseeded in the new weight despite being a Commonwealth Games champion, headlined a fruitful outing for the Indian boxers on the opening day. Three other home boxers, two-time World youth champion Sakshi Chaudhary (52kg), Asian bronze medallist Preeti (54kg) and National champion Nupur Sheoran (+81kg), also won comfortably.
Nikhat landed accurate punches to outsmart southpaw Anakhanim. Two standing counts in the first round and another in the second for Anakhanim prompted the referee to stop the contest in the second round.
“I am delighted to have started India’s campaign on a good note and hope to continue like this,” said Nikhat, who would meet top seed Algerian Boualam Roumaysa in the round-of-32.
Sakshi defeated Colombia’s Maria Jose Henao 5-0. The taller Sakshi had no problems in breaching her opponent’s defence and delivering punches regularly. She will take on World youth silver medallist Zhazhira Urkabayeva next.
Preeti displayed her impressive attacking game to beat Hungarian Hanna Lakotar with the referee stopping the contest in Round 2. She will clash with top-seeded Romanian Perijoc Lacramioara in the round of 32.
With her father-cum-coach Sanjay Sheoran shouting instructions through a loud speaker from the stands, Nupur, the granddaughter of Asian Games champion late Capt. Hawa Singh, relied on her fine footwork to trounce Guyana’s Abiola Jackman 5-0. She will meet former World champion Lazzat Kungibayeva in the quarterfinals.
50kg: Nikhat Zareen bt Anakhanim Ismayilova (Aze) RSC-R2; Mungunsaran Balsan (Mgl) bt Rabia Topuz (Tur) 5-0;
52kg: Sakshi Chaudhary bt Maria Jose Henao (Col) 5-0; Wu Yu (Chn) bt Antonia Giannakopoulou (Gre) 5-0; Anjani Teli (Nep) bt Miguelina Hernandez (Dom) 4-3; Feruza Kazakova (Uzb) bt Joohyung Jung (Kor) 5-0; Yulia Apanasovich (Blr) bt Alexandra Gheorghe (Rou) 4-1, Suraci Monique (Aus) bt Anna Adema (Rus) 4-3;
54kg: Preeti bt Hanna Lakotar (Hun) RSC-R2; Amina Martha Faki (Ken) bt Johana Landaeta (Ven) 4-1;
57kg: Rahimi Tina (Aus) bt Malkhliyo Khabibullaeva (Uzb) 5-0; Nechita Claudia (Rou) bt Jennifer Carrillo (Mex) 5-0; Delphine Mancini (Fra) bt Ekaterina Sycheva (Arm) 4-0
+81kg: Lee-Lo Celine (NZ) bt Angel Eyed George (TTO) 5-0; Nupur Sheoran bt Abiola Jackman (Guy) 5-0; Jessica Bagley (Aus) bt Mihriban Gneri (Tur) 4-1.