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Women’s Boxing World Championships: Nikhat Zareen leads India’s charge into quarter-finals

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The highlight of round of 16 bouts was Anamika stunning World Championships bronze medallist Harris of Australia and won by 5-0.

Four Indian boxers, including Asian Championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen (52kg), progressed to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul on Sunday. Four more Indian boxers had made it to the last-eight stage earlier on Saturday.

Nikhat made light work of Mongolia’s Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg, the 2021 Asian Championships bronze medallist, to seal a 5-0 win by unanimous verdict.

Parveen (63kg) then displayed her attacking prowess to out-punch former Youth Olympic champion Jajaira Gonzalez of the USA 5-0, while Anamika (50kg) defeated world championships bronze medallist Kristy Lee Harris of Australia with an identical margin.

However, the most power packed performance of the day belonged to Jaismine (60kg), who pummelled Australia’s Angela Harries, forcing the referee to stop the contest in the the first round itself. She will square off against 2019 World Championships bronze medallist Rashida Ellis in the last-eight stage.

Shiksha (54kg) and Ankushita (66kg) were eliminated as the former lost 2-3 by split decision to Youth Asian bronze medallist Yesugen Oyuntsetseg of Mongolia, while the latter was ousted by Poland’s Aneta Rygielska.

Nikhat was the first Indian in action on Sunday and she dominated from start to finish. She used her quick hands to great effect and landed a flurry of punches in all three rounds. The highlight of Nikhat’s display was her immaculate footwork and speed, which the Mongolian found difficult to handle. She next faces England’s Charley Davison, who defeated Hainite Kayla of Togo in the round of 16.

Parveen, on the other hand, played a smart game throughout the entire nine minutes. The lanky Indian preferred to stay back and play the waiting game and landed punches from a distance whenever she got the opening. She continued with the same tactic in all the three rounds and managed to easily pocket the bout by a unanimous decision. Parveen will next face Shoira Zulkaynarova of Tajikistan in the quarterfinal.

Anamika was aggressive from the get-go as she rattled her opponent in the opening round. Her quick hands and nimble footwork proved to too good for the Australian, who struggled to land clear cut punches. She will next face Rio Olympic bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia in the quarterfinal.

A slow and defensive start cost Shiksha the opening round, but she adopted a more aggressive approach to pocket the second round. However, she wasn’t able to maintain the tempo in the final round as Oyuntsetseg made the most of the openings that came her way an sealed the contest.

Apart from Nikhat and Anamika, Parveen and Jaismine, Nitu (48kg), Manisha (57kg), Pooja Rani (75kg) and Nandini (81+kg) have also reached the quarterfinal stage. All eight boxers will be in action on Monday.