Boxing: Nitu Ghanghas becomes world champion

PTI, Mar 25, 2023, 7:51 PM IST

Image credit: Twitter / @BFI_offical

New Delhi: Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nitu Ghanghas (48kg) added a World Championship title to her name with a win over Mongolia’s Lutsaikhan Altansetseg at the marquee tournament here on Saturday.

The Indian put up a stupendous performance to see off Altansetseg 5-0 and claim the title for the minimum weight category in front of a packed crowd, with Beijing Olympics bronze medallist and Nitu’s idol Vijender Singh also in attendance. Nitu started off aggressively, and used her combination of punches, jabs and hooks effectively to eke out the win.

The 22-year-old Bhiwani boxer was able to take the first round 5-0.

She began the second round with a series of straight jabs. When Altansetseg attacked, the Indian southpaw countered her opponent with a right hooks. The two boxers played from close range and indulged in a lot of holding in the fast-paced bout with Nitu being handed a penalty deduction for clinching towards the end of the second round. Despite Altansetseg’s strong comeback in the second round, Nitu still managed to take the round 3-2.

In the final three minutes, Nitu started from far but soon ditched the strategy and reverted to playing from a close range as Altansetseg was also handed a point deduction for clinching. Nitu has been in indomitable form in the entire tournament, winning her first three bouts by RSC (Referee stops contest).

Against Alua Balkibekova, who knocked her out in the last edition in the quarterfinal stage, she skilfully adapted to negate the Kazakh’s strong suit. With this victory, the 2022 Strandja Memorial gold medallist, became the sixth Indian boxer to be crowned world champion.

Six-time champion Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006), Lekha KC (2006) and Nikhat Zareen (2022) are the other pugilists who have won the world title.

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