Nikhat begins campaign in style

World champion Nikhat Zareen began her Commonwealth Games campaign defeating Mozambique’s Helena Bagao in the women’s 50kg boxing event in Birmingham on Sunday. However, former World championships bronze medallist Shiva Thapa lost to Scotland’s Worlds medallist Reese Lynch in a keenly-fought men’s 63.5kg pre-quarterfinal bout.

Nikhat, who won the 52kg World title in May, will meet Wales’ Helen Jones in the quarterfinals August 3.

It was a walk in the park for Nikhat, who maintained a good distance and landed combinations on counterattacks to take the first round convincingly. The Indian displayed more aggression and rained shots to the head in the next two rounds. Helena got a standing count before the referee stopped the contest in the final period.

Outmanoeuvred

Against a taller southpaw, Thapa moved in and out to score through some solid right punches and win the first round by unanimous decision. However, Lynch stepped up his attack to close the gap and the contest was evenly balanced after two rounds.

Lynch took the highly physical final round amid heavy exchange of punches for a 4-1 victory.

Sanjeet loses narrowly

On Saturday night, Asian champion Sanjeet Kumar won two rounds but ended up losing his 92kg bout to Samoan Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali 3-2.

While one judge picked Sanjeet as the winner another judge favoured the Samoan. The third judge — Sri Lankan Susantha Thennage — showed a 28-28 tie. Later, Susantha — who had given the first two rounds 10-9 to Sanjeet — ironically picked Plodzicki-Faoagali to break the deadlock.

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