Nikhat Zareen Earns Gold Medal at Women’s World Boxing Championships

Photo: zareennikhat/Instagram

Nikhat Zareen, India’s top female boxer, made history by winning gold at the Women’s World Boxing Championships with a 5-0 victory over Jitpong Jutamas. On May 19, she beat her Thai opponent in the flyweight (52 kg) category in Istanbul. Nikhat, therefore, becomes the fifth Indian woman to win a gold medal at the World Championships, following Mary Kom, Sarita Devi, Jenny RL, and Lekha KC.

Nikhat Zareen was born in the Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh, which is now part of Telangana, on June 14, 1996. She received her elementary education in Nizamabad and is now seeking a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree at AV College in Hyderabad.

Zareen, who is 25, is a former junior young world champion. Nikhat battled brilliantly in the final against her Thai rival and won the gold medal. The judges awarded the boxer a 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 victory.

In 2009, she was enrolled in the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Vishakapatnam, where she began training under Dronacharya awardee IV Rao. Her athletic ability was evident, as she was named the ‘golden best boxer’ at the Erode Nationals in 2010.

Nikhat initially landed several powerful punches in the first three minutes against Jutamas, who came into the match having defeated Kazakhstan’s Zhaina Shekerbekova, a three-time World Championships medalist. The 25-year-old used her long reach to retain her domination over the Thai fighter, whom she had defeated in the 2019 Thailand Open semi-final.

The tournament featured intense competition and commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Women’s World Championships, which attracted a record 310 fighters from 73 countries. In this year’s event, eight Indian boxers made it to the quarter-finals, which was tied with Turkey for the most.

With three more medals in Istanbul, India now has 39 medals in the World Women’s Boxing Championships, including 10 gold, eight silver, and 21 bronze in the 12 editions of the famous tournament. After Russia (60) and China (60), this is the third-highest (50).