India's Nikhat Zareen won the gold medal in the 52kg category at the Women's World Boxing Championship with a win over Thailand's Jitpong Jutamas in the fly-weight final in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday. Nikhat thus becomes only the fifth Indian women's boxer after Mary Kom, Sarita Devi, Jenny RL and Lekha KC to win a gold at the World Championships. The 25-year-old Zareen is a former junior youth world champion. Against her Thai opponent in the final, Nikhat fought with brilliance and brought home the gold medal. The judges scored the bout 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 in the Indian's favour.
Zareen was in top form as she used her technical acumen and covered to court well to outwit her nimble-footed opponent. Nikhat managed to impress all the judges in the first round as she landed far more punches than the Thai boxer. The second round was tighter and Jitpong clinched it 3-2. Needing to get just one judge on her side in the final round, Nikhat went all in and slammed the door on her opponent to eventually record a 5-0 unanimous decision in her favour.
The Nizamabad (Telangana)-born boxer became the only fifth Indian woman to secure gold medal at the World Boxing Championships after record six-time champion Mary Kom (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2018), Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006) and Lekha KC (2006).
It was also India's first gold medal since boxing great Mary Kom won it in 2018.
Nikhat got off to a lively start and hit some sharp punches to quickly take the upper hand in the opening three minutes against confident Jutamas, who came into the match defeating the three-time World Championships medallist Kazakhstan's Zhaina Shekerbekova.
The 25-year-old Indian took full advantage of her long reach and maintained her dominance against the Thai boxer, whom she had beaten in the 2019 Thailand Open semi-final—the only meeting between the two, enroute her silver medal finish.