New Delhi, May 20: Nikhat Zareen became only the fifth Indian female boxer to become a world champion after she bagged a gold medal at International Boxing Association (IBA) Women's World Boxing Championships in Instanbul. Indian contingent finished the tournament second with a total of three medals (one gold and two bronze).
25-year-old Nikhat defeated Thailand's Jitpong Jutamas in a dominant fashion in the 52kg final with judges scoring the bout unanimously (30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28) in her favour. It was India's first yellow metal in four years at the World Championship after legendary MC Mary Kom's gold in 2018.
Zareen - who has had a professional journey full of ups and downs - won a bronze at the senior national championships and won the Belgrade International Championship in 2018. She later made her mark by winning the gold at the prestigious Strandja Memorial, Europe's oldest international boxing event, and a silver at the Thailand Open.
Zareen became the first Indian boxer to win two gold medals at the Strandja Memorial on the back of some impressive performances, including out-punching the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist in February this year. Continuing her stellar run, the Nizamabad-born boxer bagged another gold at the World Championship.
Before Nikhat, record six-time world champion Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha KC (2006) had won a gold medal at the prestigious event. Overall it was the tenth gold medal for India from female boxers at the world championships.
Meanwhile, Manisha (57kg) and Parveen (63kg) signed off with bronze medals after their semi-finals finish at the world's biggest boxing event.
India medals in world boxing championships 2022:
Gold - 1 - Nikhat Zareen (52 kg)
Silver - 0
Bronze - 2 - Manisha (57 kg) & Parveen (63 kg)
Medal table World Championships 2022:
Women's World Boxing Champions from India:
Mary Kom - 2002 (45 kg)
Mary Kom - 2005 (46 kg)
Mary Kom - 2006 (46 kg)
Sarita Devi - 2006 (52 kg)
Jenny RL - 2006 (63 kg)
Lekha KC - 2006 (75 kg)
Mary Kom - 2008 (46 kg)
Mary Kom - 2010 (48 kg)
Mary Kom - 2018 (48 kg)
Nikhat Zareen - 2022 (53 kg).