The 2021 Asian Championships bronze medallist Sakshi Choudhary put up a stellar performance and registered an impressive victory to advance to the quarterfinals in the 52kg category of the Mahindra IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships here on Monday.
The dynamic 23-year-old pugilist from Haryana hardly put a foot wrong in her commanding 5-0 win against the 2022 Asian Championships bronze medallist Zhazira Urakbayeva of Kazakhstan in the Last-16 contest at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here.
Utilising her reach to land relentless punches with both hands, Sakshi looked to be in complete control from the word go and prevailed in the first round. The two-time World Youth champion continued to dominate her Kazakh opponent in the next two rounds with her quick movement and smart attacking strategy to seal the victory comfortably by unanimous decision.
“The boxer from Kazakistan (Urakbayeva) was tough, so I thought that the fight scores may go up or down but after following the strategy of the coaches and BFI, I could play well and could further dominate the bout to win by 5-0. Moreover, the people that have come to cheer further motivated me to win,” Sakshi commented after the match.
“As it was my first time playing with her, I and my coach made our strategy by watching and analyzing the 7-8 videos of her previous tournaments. My confidence is growing as the bouts progress so through the vigour and the passion that I currently possess, I am definitely focused on clinching the gold,” she said.
The Indians will now square off against Wu Yu of China in the quarter-finals.
Later on Monday night, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (75kg) will take on Vanessa Ortiz of Mexico while the 2022 Asian Championships bronze medallist Preeti (54kg) will face last World Championships’ silver medallist Jitpong Jutamas of Thailand in their respective Round-of-16 bouts.
Six Indians, including the reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Nitu Ghanghas (48kg), Manisha Moun (57kg), Jaismine Lamboriya (60kg), Shashi Chopra (63kg) and Manju Bamboriya (66kg), will compete in the pre-quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Olympics medallists Irma Testa (57kg) of Italy, Nesthy Petecio (57kg) of the Philippines, Estelle Mossely (60kg) of France and Brazil’s Beatriz Iasmim Ferreira (60kg) will also be in action.
The ongoing 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.