Nikhat Zareen became the fifth Indian boxer to win a gold medal at the Women’s World Boxing Championships when she defeated Thai Jitpong Jutamas in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday. Nikhat lived up to expectations, beating Jutamas without breaking a sweat in the 52kg final with judges scoring the bouts 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in favor of the Indian. Nikhat became the only fifth Indian woman to win a gold medal at the World Boxing Championships following the record set by six-time champion Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha K.C. (2006).
After the win, Nikhat was congratulated on Twitter by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and some other top personalities. She was also elated when she learned that she was trending on Twitter.
“Am I trending on Twitter? That was one of my dreams,” a delighted Nikhat told media during a virtual interaction.
“When I won the gold medal, I first thought about my parents because they did so much to make me a boxer.”
It was also India’s first gold medal since boxing great Mary Kom won it in 2018.
Nikhat started briskly, hitting some sharp punches to quickly gain the upper hand in the opening three minutes against the confident Jutamas, who entered the game beating three-time World Cup medalist Kazakhstan Zhaina Shekerbekova.
Taking full advantage of her long reach, the 25-year-old Indian maintained her dominance against the Thai boxer, whom she defeated in the Thailand Open 2019 semi-final – the only meeting between the two en route to her silver medal.
However, Jutamas tried to fight back on the second lap with a counter-attack but barely managed to trouble the fast-moving Nikhat, who seemed to be in control.
Striking straight and clear punches, strength proved to be a key factor as Nikhat threw caution to the wind on the last lap and continued to attack relentlessly before securing the gold quite comfortably.
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