Nitu beats three-time silver medallist Duta on debut

India’s Nitu got her debut Women’s World Boxing Championships campaign off to a winning start as she defeated three-time silver-medallist Steluta Duta 5-0 in Istanbul on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old, who won gold at the Strandja Memorial in February, will next face Spain’s Lopez Del Arbol Marta in the last-16 round on Saturday. Lopez defeated Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi by unanimous decision in the opening round match.

Both the boxers were aggressive from the get-go and exchanged a flurry of punches in a closely-fought opening round, which all five judges awarded to the Indian. Nitu settled into the bout in the second round and seized control by ducking away from Duta’s powerful punches and landing a few of her own.

Duta, a four-time European Championship winner, came out all guns blazing in the third round but Nitu stepped up to the challenge and saw off the win.

Four Indians will be in action on the third day of the competition on Wednesday. Nikhat Zareen (52kg), the 2019 Asian Championships bronze medalist, begins her campaign against Mexico’s Herrera Alvarez. Manisha (57kg), who received a bye in the opening round, will square off against Nepal’s Kala Thapa while Parveen (63kg) and Saweety (75kg) will take on Ukraine’s Mariia Bova and England’s Kerry Davis respectively.

On Monday, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain got India off to a successful start as she beat former world champion Chen Nien-Chin 3-2 in the 70kg category. This was Lovlina’s first bout on the international circuit since last year’s Games and she will next take on Cindy Ngamba of the Fair Chance Team in the round-of-16 on Friday.

In the last edition of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships held in Russia in 2019, Indian boxers had clinched one silver and three bronze medals. India’s tally of 36 medals, including nine gold, eight silver and 19 bronze, so far in the 11 editions of the tournament is the third highest after Russia (60) and China (50).

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