Commonwealth Games: Nikhat Zareen bags gold in red-letter day for Indian boxing

The reigning world champion secured a unanimous victory to bring India’s 17th gold and 48th medal of the Commonwealth Games 2022.

Commonwealth Games: Nikhat Zareen bags gold in red-letter day for Indian boxing
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hailed Nikhat’s gold-winning exploits on Twitter. (Twitter/Narendra Modi)

Nikhat Zareen rounded off a hat-trick of boxing golds for India on Sunday as she joined Nitu Ghanghas and Amit Panghal on the top step of the boxing podium at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday.

The reigning world champion secured a unanimous victory against Northern Ireland’s Carly MC Naul in the women’s 50 kg category to bring India’s 17th gold and 48th medal of the Commonwealth Games 2022.

Both boxers settled in the match in their own time. Nikhat won the first round 5-0, setting it up with a left hook, coupled with a set of powerful punches. MC Naul couldn’t match Nikhat as the Indian pugilist aggressively went on the attack. MC Naul began the second round aggressively with both exchanging punches. With 50 seconds to go, Nikhat allowed her opponent to go after her before countering with ease.

In the third round, a desperate MC Naul decided to have another go at Nikhat. Aware of her lead after two rounds, Nikhat took her time and raised her hands in victory as the final bell rang.

Nikhat began her Commonwealth Games 2022 campaign with a unanimous win against Mozambique’s Helena Ismael Bagao in the round of 16. She followed it up with another 5-0 victory in the second round. In the third, Nikhat’s dominance forced the referee into a stoppage.

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In the quarterfinal, Nikhat saw out Helen Jones of Wales, winning the first round 5-0. In the second round, Nikhat also scored a 5-0 win. Jones landed a few good punches in the third round but Nikhat retaliated strongly to storm into the semi-finals.

Nikhat then outpunched England’s Savannah Alfia Stubley in the semi-final. Amid huge support for her opponent, Nikhat won all three rounds with perfect scores to advance to the finals with a 5-0 victory.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hailed Nikhat’s gold-winning exploits, writing on Twitter: “Nikhat Zareen is India’s pride. She is a world class athlete who is admired for her skills. I congratulate her on winning a Gold medal at the CWG. Excelling in various tournaments, she has shown great consistency. Best wishes for her future endeavours.”

Earlier in the day, Nitu Ghanghas bagged gold in the women’s 48 kg category. Amit Panghal then followed it with a gold in the men’s 51 kg category.

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