World champion boxer Nikhat Zareen added a Commonwealth Games gold medal to her ever-growing kitty as she completely out-boxed veteran Northern Ireland pugilist Carly McNaul in the women’s lightflyweight final. Nikhat’s gold is the third of the day for India after Nitu Ghanghas and Amit Panghal also triumphed earlier in the day.
Earlier, Nitu Ghanghas produced a masterful display on Sunday to beat England’s Demie-Jade Resztan in the final of the women’s minimumweight category to give India its first gold medal in the sport in Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Nitu was in full flow, punching her way to glory as the bout was decided in her favour unanimously by all the judges. Just minutes later, ace boxer Amit Panghal was equally good inside the ring as he outpunched Englishman Kiaran Macdonald in the men’s 51kg final to win his first Commonwealth Games gold, having finished with a silver in 2018.
This is a first major senior medal for Nitu, who has in the past won two Youth World Championships gold medals.
Panghal on the other hand is an Asian Games gold medallist in the past and also has a world championships silver to his name.
This medal will help Panghal get his confidence back after he suffered a meltdown during the Tokyo Olympics, where he was expected to win a medal.
Panghal bettered his silver from the last edition as he out-punched European Championship silver medallist England’s Kiaran MacDonald by a 5-0 verdict in the men’s flyweight.
Nitu, on the other hand, upstaged 2019 world championships bronze medallist Demie-Jade Resztan of England by a 5-0 unanimous verdict.
Despite the height disadvantage, Asian Games gold medallist Panghal was the far better pugilist among the two.
But MacDonald upped the ante in the final round despite managing a nasty cut.
The first Indian boxer to take the ring, the 21-year-old Nitu, competing in her first CWG, looked completely in control throughout the nine minutes, giving the home boxer no chance.
The Southpaw continued to dazzle in the ring as she threw sharp, accurate combination of punches and controlled the pace of the contest.
(With PTI inputs)
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