Indian pugilists scripted history when all four of them won gold medal in their respective weight category at the Women’s World Boxing Championship. India’s charge was led by four boxers, Nitu Ghanghas, Saweety Boora on Saturday followed by reigning World Champion, Nikhat Zareen and Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain also becoming World Champions.
The pressure was on Nikhat and Lovlina to deliver on Sunday after Nitu and Saweety had already done their job a day earlier. Nikhat (50kg) started at her rampant best against Nguyem Thi Tam of Vietnam. She did not allow the two time Asian champion to settle down and read her game. Nikhat’s constant attack and combination punches rattled Nguyem. Nikhat kept her cool despite staying ahead in the bout for the entirety and finally claimed her second gold medal in consecutive years. She also became the second Indian female boxer after MC Mary Kom to own more than one World Championship gold.
Nikhat admitted that the final was the toughest and hence she wanted to give everything out on the ring. He expressed her gratitude towards her supporters and dedicated her gold medal to India.
“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 utilize 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. 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 have supported us throughout the tournament,” the Telengana based boxer said after clinching the gold.
It was the maiden World Championship final for Lovlina Borgohain but she showed great calmness to tackle her opponent Caitlin Parker of Australia. The two time Commonwealth Games medallist, Parker posed a great threat to Lovlina, who started very cautiously. However the Indian pugilist led the first round 3-2. The second round saw Parker dominate proceedings and for once the Indian fans felt that the gold was slipping away as Parker took a 4-1 lead in the second round. Lastly, Lovlina decided to leave everything out on the ring to ultimately outpunch her opponent and win her maiden World Championship gold.
This is Lovlina’s third World Championship medal but unlike in 2018 and 2019, this time she has tasted gold. Hence it was an emotional moment for her to upgrade the colour of her medal and also become the World Champion for the first time.
“I feel happy on becoming the World Champion and win the gold for my country. As the opponent was strong we changed the strategy for the bout according to her gameplay. Our plan was to fight the first two rounds on the front foot and then play counter-attacks in the last round from distance. I had won bronze in 2018 and 2019 so it feels good to change the colour of the medals to gold,” Lovlina stated after winning the final bout.
India scripted history as this is only the second time that India had won four gold medals at the Women’s World Championships. They achieved this feat back in 2006 when Sarita Devi, Mary Kom, Lenny Lalremliani and Lekha KC were the gold medal winners.
With the Asian Games around the corner and the Olympics coming up in a year’s time, Indian pugilists will hope to give better account of themselves than they showed at Tokyo.