Commonwealth Games winner Nitu Ghanghas (48kg) and three-time Asian medallist Saweety Boora (81kg) did India proud as the scripted history winning a gold each and were crowned as the World Champions for the first time after registering a sensational victories over their rivals in the finals of the Rs 20 crore Mahindra IBA Women’s World Boxing Championship at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here on Saturday.
Saweety stunned 2018 World Champion Wang Lina of China 4-3 after bout review. The Indian led the first two rounds 3-2 ,3-2 but the Chinese came back strongly in the third, forcing the bout to go into the review and in that Indian emerged winner.
Saweety fought bravely against a tenacious rival and never gave up even when she was put under pressure in the third round. “I was confident of Victory. I am proud that I won the gold for my country before my own people. It is special,” said the Assam boxer.
Earlier maintaining her red-hot form, Nitu (48kg) made lightwork of the two-time Asian bronze medallist Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg of Kazakhstan to secure a remarkable 5-0 win by unanimous decision.
The Indian started off the bout energetically by landing a quick flurry of punches on the Kazakh and utilized her smart movement and aggressive approach to prevail in the first two rounds by 5-0 and 3-2 score lines respectively.
The southpaw continued her momentum in the final round by showcasing a brilliant combination of relentless attack and resolute defence and sealed the win by unanimous decision. Throughout the bout it was Nitu’s patience and attacking supremacy from close range that helped her dominate Lutsaikhan and emerge victorious in her maiden World Championships final.
“I had decided to play aggressively today before the bout and I feel very happy (after the victory). I am proud of myself and my family and would like to thank my coaches, especially my head coach Bhaskar Sir,”said Nitu after her bout.
With this victory, the 22-year-old pugilist from Bhiwani capped off a stellar campaign where she proved her mettle by ousting notable pugilists including the two-time Worlds bronze medallist Madoka Wada of Japan and the two-time Asian champion Alua Balkibekova of Kazakhstan.
In the 57kg category, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Irma Testa of Italy also clinched her first World Championships gold as she outpunched Karina Ibragimova of Kazakhstan with a 5-0 win. The Italian, who had to settle for silver at the tournament’s previous edition after a hard-fought 1-4 defeat against Lin Yu-Ting of Chinese Taipei, gave it her all to avoid a repeat of that result this time round and secured a memorable victory.
On Sunday, the reigning World Champion Nikhat Zareen and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain take to the ring for their respective finals bout.
Nikhat (50kg) will take on the two-time Asian champion Nguyen Thi Tam of Vietnam in a bid for back-to-back World Championships gold medals while Lovlina (75kg) will square off against the two-time Commonwealth Games medallist Caitlin Parker of Australia.
The on-going prestigious event is witnessing the participation of 324 boxers, including several Olympic medallists, from 65 countries fighting for the titles in the 12 weight categories. The tournament has a massive prize pool of INR 20 crore.