Indian pugilist Nikhat Zareen was one again at her dominant best as she won her second round bout against top seeded Roumaysa Boualam of Algeria in the 50kg category of the Women’s World Championships.
Zareen won the battle by an unanimous decision as the auditorium in Delhi roared with each one of ther punch. The adrenaline was high among the Indian fans and Zareen did not disappoint them.
She started the first round with a 5-0 win over the Algerian in the first round. Her opponent however changed her plans and plotted a different style to counter Nikhat and it worked for her helping her win 3-2 in the second round. But the reigning World Champion came roaring back as she was quick to prove her mettle in the penultimate round to win the bout.
After the win Nikhat spoke to the media present at the venue. She shared that defeating the top seed will give her a lot of confidence. She also revealed that she had never played against Boualam in the past so she was cautious early on.
“I wanted to dominate her from the first round as she is seeded number one. Defeating the number one seed will give me more confidence. I have never played with her before, so this was my first time facing her. My strategy was to check in the first 10-15 mins and then prepare my attack on that basis.”
This win means Nikhat enters the top 16 and she is aware that with every round her opponents will get better and there will be tougher bouts. She prepared for the challenge that is coming her way in the Championship. “I have reached the top 16 now and I am taking one round at a time. As I keep moving forward, I will get tough opponents. So, I will make my strategy accordingly,” the Telengana based boxer highlighted.
Nikhat Zareen will next face Mexico’s Herrera Alvarez Fatima in the 50kg category. This will be a rematch between the two in last edition’s round of 32 bout.
Later the auditorium once again got heated up with energy when the Indian fans countered the handful of Australian chants as India’s Manisha was in action against Australia’s Tina Rahimi. Manisha who had bagged the bronze medal at the 2022 World Championship was the dominant boxer right from the start. Starting from her footwork to her combination punches, everything worked out well as she defeated the Australian.
After winning 5-0, Manisha shared that her coach’s opinion in between rounds helped her understand her opponent’s mindset. She shared that she had already analyzed the Australian and her ways but still needed his coach’s help to implement her punches better. She also thanked the fans for great support.
“While we had planned the strategy for this bout beforehand, the coaches’ advise in between the bout helped me understand the opposition’s mindset, land my punches perfectly and conserve my energy. I am here to fight and feel great to carry the weight of the country on my shoulders. I would like to thank the amazing support from Indians which has been crucial in helping the women boxers reach the pre quarters,”Manisha stated.
The former Bornze medallist, Manisha wil now face Turkey Nur Elif Turhan in the next round in the 57kg category.