Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Commonwealth Games Gold medalist Nitu Ghanghas and defending champion Nikhat Zareen chalked out record contrasting victories to reach the finals of the Rs 20-crore Mahindra IBA Women’s World Boxing Championship at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here on Thursday.
With three consecutive Referee Stops Contest (RSC) wins under her belt, Nitu (48kg) continued her remarkable run against the reigning Asian champion Alua Balkibekova of Kazakhstan with a hard-earned 5-2 win on points after the bout was reviewed.
Having suffered a defeated against the Kazakh in the quarter finals of the last World Championships, the 22-year-old Indian had a point to prove this time round.
Both pugilists were neck to neck in all three rounds and while Balkibekova kept Nitu throughout the bout, the 2022 Commonwealth Games champion kept her cool to get the better of her opponent. The southpaw smartly landed accurate punches and showcased immense grit to reach the finals of the competition for the very first time.
Nitu will now take on the 2022 Asian Championships bronze medallist Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg of Mongolia in the final on Saturday.
Nikhat (50kg) on the other hand, made things look easy as she continued her quest for back-to-back World Championships gold medals by outpunching the veteran Rio Olympics bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia of Colombia and securing a 5-0 win. Being at the top of her game, the 26-year-old star pugilist utilized her quick movement and stellar strength to control the bout from the word go.
She maintained her composure going into the next few rounds and dominated the bout, giving her Colombian opponent no chance to make a comeback and sealed the win by unanimous decision.
Nikhat in the process took a sweet revenge for her compatriot legendary Mary Kom, as Ingrit Valencia had beaten the six-time champion in the last edition of the Championship held in Istanbul
Nikhat will now face the two-time Asian champion Nguyen Thi Tam of Vietnam in the final on Sunday.