Becoming only the second Indian female to have two World Championships gold medals to her name, the country's illustrious pugilist Nikhat Zareen capped off an outstanding campaign at the IBA Womens World Boxing Championship with a stunning victory in the finals at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, here on Sunday.
Living up to her name, the tenacious Nikhat (50kg) oozed class in her rampant display against the two-time Asian champion Nguyen Thi Tam of Vietnam and secured a thumping 5-0 win. The reigning World Champion asserted her dominance in the bout from the word go by landing accurate punches and using her quick feet to dodge the Vietnamese's attacks.
The Indian's breath-taking performance saw her prevail in the first round with a 5-0 scoreline before Nguyen bounced back in the second round with a 3-2 scoreline to set up a grand slam finish. In the final round, Nikhat maintained her composure and proved why she's one of the best in the business with a sensational attacking display that helped her seal the win by unanimous decision.
With this victory, Nikhat became only the second Indian female pugilist to win two golds at the World Championships alongside the boxing legend Mary Kom who has claimed a record six gold medals in the competition.
"I am extremely delighted to become World Champion for the second time, especially in a different category. Today's bout was my toughest in the entire tournament and since this was the last match of the tournament I wanted to utilise my energy completely and leave everything in the ring. It was a rollercoaster of a bout with both of us getting warnings as well as eight counts and it was very close," said Nikhat after her bout.
"My strategy in the last round was to go all out and attack and I felt very happy when my hand was lifted as the winner. This medal is for India and for everyone who has supported us throughout the tournament," she added.
Despite shifting to light flyweight from flyweight for this year's tournament, the 26-year-old pugilist from Telangana adjusted extremely well to her new weight category and performed at the highest of levels throughout the tournament.
She notably toppled the top seed and the reigning African champ Roumaysa Boualam of Algeria, two-time World Championships bronze medallist Chuthamat Raksat of Thailand and the Rio Olympics bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia of Colombia.
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