Scripting history, the young Indian pugilist Nitu Ghanghas was crowned as a World Champion for the first time after registering a sensational victory in the finals of the Mahindra IBA Women’s World Boxing Championship at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here on Saturday.
Maintaining her red hot form, Nitu (48kg) made lightwork of the two-time Asian bronze medallist Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg of Kazakhstan to secure a remarkable 5-0 win by unanimous decision. The 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist started off the bout energetically by landing a quick flurry of punches on the Kazakh and utilized her smart movement and aggressive approach to prevail in the first two rounds by 5-0 and 3-2 scorelines respectively.
The southpaw continued her momentum in the final round by showcasing a brilliant combination of relentless attack and resolute defence and sealed the win by unanimous decision. Throughout the bout it was Nitu’s patience and attacking supremacy from close range that helped her dominate Lutsaikhan and emerge victorious in her maiden World Championships final.
“I had decided to play aggressively today before the bout and I feel very happy (after the victory). I am proud of myself and my family and would like to thank my coaches, especially my head coach Bhaskar sir,” said Nitu after her bout.
With this victory, the 22-year-old pugilist from Bhiwani capped off a stellar campaign where she proved her mettle by ousting notable pugilists including the two-time Worlds bronze medallist Madoka Wada of Japan and the two-time Asian champion Alua Balkibekova of Kazakhstan.
In the 57kg category, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Irma Testa of Italy also clinched her first World Championships gold as she outpunched Karina Ibragimova of Kazakhstan with a 5-0 win. The Italian, who had to settle for silver at the tournament’s previous edition after a hard-fought 1-4 defeat against Lin Yu-Ting of Chinese Taipei, gave it her all to avoid a repeat of that result this time round and secured a memorable victory.
Following Nitu’s historic triumph, India’s quest for gold medals will continue when the three time Asian medallist Saweety Boora takes to the ring later to face the 2018 World Champion Wang Lina of China later tonight.
On Sunday, the reigning World Champion Nikhat Zareen and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain take to the ring for their respective finals bout.
Nikhat (50kg) will take on the two-time Asian champion Nguyen Thi Tam of Vietnam in a bid for back-to-back World Championships gold medals while Lovlina (75kg) will square off against the two-time Commonwealth Games medallist Caitlin Parker of Australia.
The on-going prestigious event is witnessing the participation of 324 boxers, including several Olympic medallists, from 65 countries fighting for the titles in the 12 weight categories. The tournament has a massive prize pool of INR 20 crore.