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From asking for trails to becoming World Boxing Champion, Indian pugilist Nikhat Zareen packs a punch

New Delhi, May 19: The Indian sporting community is hailing the superlative effort of boxer Nikhat Zareen, who on Thursday (May 19) scripted history by clinching a historic gold medal at the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Istanbul after beating Thailand's Jitpong Jutamas 5-0.

Living up to the expectations, Nikhat won the 52kg final bout as judges scored 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in the Indian's favour. The young Indian boxer's journey hasn't been easy and she has gone through a lot in the last couple of years.

12th IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships: Nikhat Zareen clinches gold12th IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships: Nikhat Zareen clinches gold

In 2019, Nikhat was trending on social media but the reasons were not favourable. The Telangana boxer was being trolled by the naysayers after she wrote to the then Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju to get a match against the 6-time World Champion MC Mary Kom for the Olympic qualifiers.

The young boxer was brutally trolled on social media for her 'fair' appeal. However, she later got the bout but lost it 1-9 to the legendary boxer. Mary even refused to shake hands with her after the bout.

Despite facing the embarrassment, she didn't give up and quietly kept preparing and focused on her training. She even stopped taking calls from the media as well in the interim.

The fire to prove herself kept burning and the 25-year-old boxer kept waiting for her chance and when the time came, she proved her metal. When Mary Kom decided to skip this year's World Championships, Nikhat knew that this was the time to prove her worth.

She trained well despite the COVID-19 break and a new Nikhat entered the ring with new renewed intensity. Her speed, flexibility and power were matchless in all her bouts in Turkey. She won all her bouts unanimously and she produced another dominant show in the gold medal bout too.

The Nizamabad-born boxer, thus, became the only fifth woman from India to secure a gold medal at the World Boxing Championships after record six-time champion Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha KC (2006). It was also India's first gold medal since boxing great Mary Kom won it in 2018.

Nikhat's name is once again trending on Twitter but this time all are tweeting "All Hail The New Champion".

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Story first published: Thursday, May 19, 2022, 22:53 [IST]
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