Nitu and Saweety win gold medals at IBA World Boxing Championships
It was a sensational start for India on the penultimate day of the IBA World Boxing Championships as Nitu Gangahas won her final bout in the 45-48kg category against Lutsaikhan Altansetseg of Mongolia. The Indian, who had won a gold at the CWG 2022 as well, won the bout easily 5-0.
Scripting history, Indian pugilists Nitu Ghanghas and Saweety Boora were crowned as World Champions for the first time after registering contrasting victories in the finals of the Mahindra IBA Women’s World Boxing Championship at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here on Saturday.
While the 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nitu (48kg) defeated Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg of Mongolia with a 5-0 scoreline to clinch her first World Championships medal, three-time Asian medallist Saweety (81kg) had to grind hard to secure a 4-3 win on points after the bout was reviewed against Wang Lina of China to clinch her second Worlds medal.
Maintaining her red hot form, Nitu (48kg) utilized her attacking supremacy from close range and smart movement to make lightwork of the two-time Asian bronze medallist Lutsaikhan. The 22-year-old pugilist from Bhiwani started off the bout energetically by landing a quick flurry of punches on the Mongolian and showcased a brilliant combination of relentless attack and resolute defence to seal the win by unanimous decision.
“I am very happy after winning the gold medal. I fell short in my quest for the gold last year so we worked on the mistakes and won it this time round in front of the home support. Having discussed with my coaches yesterday I had decided to be aggressive since the first round today to get the scores in my favour. I have been working hard for many years and this medal means a lot to me,” said Nitu after her bout.
Competing in her second World Championships final, Saweety faced a tough challenge against the 2018 World Champion Wang Lina. However, the Indian made use of her high technical ability and strength throughout the bout to impressively overpower her opponent in the closely contested bout.
“I am thrilled after fulfilling my dream of becoming the World Champion. The bout went well and I was able execute our planning perfectly. My performances in the tournament got better as the bouts progressed with my body also responding well. I want to thank the fans for their constant love and support,” said Saweety after the bout.
Both pugilists were awarded with INR 82.7 lakhs ($100,000) each in prize money for being crowned as the World Champions. 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 and Saweety’s historic triumphs, India’s quest for two more gold medals will continue on Sunday when 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 titles in the 12 weight categories. The tournament has a massive prize pool of INR 20 crore.