Nikhat, Nitu cruise into finals of Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament
New Delhi, February 25, 2022
Nikhat Zareen and Nitu chalked out contrasting wins over their rivals to move into the finals of the Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria on Friday.
The 25-year-old Nikhat secured a hard-fought 4-1 win against Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Buse Naz Cakiroglu of Turkey, while Nitu clinched a dominating victory against 2018 World Championships silver medallist Hanna Okhota of Ukraine in the semi-finals.
However Arundhati Choudhary (70kg) and Praveen (63kg) bowed out in the women’s quarter-finals. While Choudhary lost to reigning Olympics champion Busenaz Surmeneli 1-4 of Turkey, Parveen went down fighting against Russia’s Nataliya Sychugova 2-3.
In a bitterly fought women’s 52kg semi-final battle, the 2019 edition’s champion Nikhat came up with a solid performances against Cakiroglu as both the boxers exchanged heavy blows and fought from a close distance.
However, the Indian held her nerves and clinched the nail-biting encounter 4-1 in her favour with some hard-hitting punches.
In a contrasting 48kg Last-4 bout, the two-time world youth champion from Haryana Nitu came up with a well-composed performance against Okhota.
Nitu took an early lead after the opening round and capitalised on the momentum and executed timely and precise punches throughout the second round. Eventually, she made it to the final after the Ukrainian boxer abandoned the bout before the start of the third round.
Nitu and Nikhat will play their gold medal matches on Sunday at Europe’s oldest international boxing tournament.
Another Indian boxer Nandini will fight for a place in the final as she takes on Kazakhstan’s Lazzat Kungeibayva in the +81kg Last-4 stage.