Nikhat Zareen
Nikhat Zareen

CWG 2022: Nitu, Amit, Nikhat storm into finals; Jaismine takes bronze after losing semi-final

Birmingham, August 6, 2022

Boxer Jaismine Lamboria added a bronze medal to India's medal tally on Saturday even as three of her teammates -- reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen, Nitu and Asian champion Amit Panghal -- stormed into the finals in their respective categories, setting up the country for another rich haul from the rings at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Three more boxers -- Rohit Tokas, Sagar and Mohd Hssamuddin -- are scheduled to participate in their respective semi-final bouts later on Saturday.

While all eyes were on Nikhat, Nitu and Amit, Jaismine was unlucky as she went down to England's Gemma Paige Richardson in a closely-fought lightweight (over 63.5-67kg) division bout on Saturday.

Nitu started the day for India by thrashing Canada's Priyanka Dhillon in the minimumweight (over 45-58kg) division, forcing the referee to stop the contest as she was pummelling her clearly outclassed opponent.

Panghal was also impressive as he defeated Patrick Chinyemba of Zambia 5-0 on points in the men's flyweight (over 48-51 kg) division semifinals, though his opponent led at the end of the first round. But Panghal dominated the next two rounds and won the bout on the cards of all five judges to win on points.

Nikhat continued her dream run that started with her triumph in the World Championships as she stormed into the final of the women's light flyweight (over 48-50kg) division, winning on points 5-0 against England's Savannah Alfia Stubley.

Nikhat got a perfect score of 30 from each of the five judges for three rounds as she mixed aggression with good defence against her 21-year-old opponent.

Playing from the blue corner against England's Gemma Paige Richardson, Jaismine, the fourth Indian to take to the rings on Saturday, went down narrowly losing 2-3 in the semifinal.

Three of the judges scored in favour of the English girl -- 30-27, 30-27, and 30-27 -- while two judges gave it to Jaismine at 29-27, 29-27. In the close bout, the English girl did just enough to impress the judges. Jaismine did put up a good fight but in the end it did not prove enough.

Meanwhile, Nikhat was happy to have made it to her first final in the Commonwealth Games, setting herself up for her maiden gold medal. In the final she will meet Carly McNaul of Northern Island, the silver medallist from the 2018 Commonwealth Games and a European stalwart.

"It was a very good fight. She's young and talented and I congratulate her on her bronze medal. I'm really happy to win this match for my country and I'm looking forward to the final bout against Northern Ireland (Carly McNaul) and to win the gold medal," said Nikhat after her bout.

"Although I sparred with her in a training camp before the Games, I had never fought her in the ring.

"I'm grateful for the people who came to support me and to hear my name being called from the audience," said Nikhat, who was cheered into the ring by the Indian supporters. She did not disappoint them by scoring an impressive win.


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