How Nikhat, Lovlina, Nitu, Saweety punched their way to World Championships gold - Hindustan Times

How Nikhat Zareen, Lovlina Borgohain, Nitu Ghanghas and Saweety Boora punched their way to World Championships gold

By, New Delhi
Mar 26, 2023 10:34 PM IST

The country's top pugilists Nikhat Zareen, Lovlina Borgohain, Saweety Boora and Nitu Ghanghas took away the top prize in their respective bouts.

India produced a dominant show at the IBA Women's World Boxing Championship in New Delhi, finishing the competition with four gold medals in different categories. The country's top pugilists Nikhat Zareen, Lovlina Borgohain, Saweety Boora and Nitu Ghanghas took away the top prize in their respective finals as India matched their best ever outing in the tournament's history - four golds in 2006.

From Left: Nikhat Zareen, Lovlina Borgohain, Nitu Ghanghas and Saweety Boora headlined India's domination at World's. (PTI)
From Left: Nikhat Zareen, Lovlina Borgohain, Nitu Ghanghas and Saweety Boora headlined India's domination at World's. (PTI)

India's gold medal surge was led by Nitu on Saturday, who is also a Commonwealth Games gold winner. An hour later, Saweety added another gold to India's tally, as both the Indian pugilists won their respective final bouts. India's successful run was then carried forward by Nikhat Zareen a day later, after which and Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina brought a capped off India's outstanding campaign. All pugilists were rewarded with INR 82.7 lakhs ($100,000) each in prize money for becoming World Champions.

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A look at India's 'Fab four' campaign at the World Championships:

1 Nitu Ghanghas - 48 kg

Commonwealth Games winner Nitu handed India's first gold at the tournament after securing an unanimous decision win against Mongolia's Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg in the 45-48 kg category finals. Nitu started the opening round on an attacking note and kept the upper hand throughout the first three minutes. Altantsetseg, a two-time Asian Championships bronze medalist herself, looked to regain control as the bout proceeded but Nitu maintained her stance to secure a commanding win over the Mongolian.

Nitu had secured three Referee Stops Contest (RSC) wins earlier in the competition. Her semifinals bout against familiar nemesis Kazakhstan's Alua Balkibekova was her toughest challenge at the competition, whom she defeated 5-2 after a split decision verdict. Balkibekova had eliminated Nitu in the quarterfinals of the World Championship last year.

2 Saweety Boora - 81 kg

Saweety secured a gold medal in the 75-81 kg finals against China's Wang Lina, 2018 World Champion, winning the bout 4-3 after a review. Saweety had settled for a silver nine years ago and the 30-year-old left no stone unturned this time around. Competing in her second World Championships final, Saweety faced a tough challenge against Wang but she made use of her high technical ability and strength to impressively overpower her opponent in the closely contested bout.

3 Nikhat Zareen - 50 kg

Nikhat Zareen produced a strong show against Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Tam to win her second World Championship gold. Nikhat, who had earlier won the gold in 52kg category, featured in the 48-50 kg weight category in this edition. She secured an unanimous decision win against Thi Tam, who is the first Vietnamese boxer to reach a World Championship final.

Living up to her name, the tenacious Nikhat oozed class in her rampant display against the two-time Asian champion and asserted her dominance from the word go by landing accurate punches and using her quick feet to dodge the Vietnamese's attacks. Nikhat, a 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, maintained her composure throughout the bout 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.

4 Lovlina Borgohain - 75 kg

Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Lovlina, who was going through a rough patch following the showpiece event in Japan won India's fourth and final gold at the competition. Lovlina produced a strong show in the 70-75kg finals, where she defeated Australia's Caitlin Anne Parker with 5-2 split decision win after a review. This is Lovlina's first gold at the competition after settling for bronze in 2018 and 2019 edition.

Competing in her first World Championships final, Lovlina faced a tough challenge against the two-time Commonwealth Games medallist but produced a world-class display to come out on top in the closely contested matchup. The bout went to-and-fro with the Indian edging out her opponent with a 3-2 margin in the first round. The Australian came back strong to prevail in the next round 4-1 but ultimately, Lovlina, 25, utilized her vast experience and supreme technical ability to outpunch her opponent and add a secure her third Worlds medal.

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