IMAGE: Nikhat Zareen will square off against Sabina Bobokulova in the gold medal match. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
Dominant efforts by two-time world champion Nikhat Zareen and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Amit Panghal headlined Indian boxers’ march into six finals at the 75th Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria on Saturday.
Nikhat (50kg) started her bout cautiously against home girl Zlatislava Chukanova, taking some time to get into the rhythm but did not lose hold of the game as she won the round 3-2.
Nikhat was clinical in the second round, giving no room to her Bulgarian opponent while delivering some accurate blows.
The Indian continued her domination in the third round as well and she maintained the composure, giving her opponent no chance of a comeback to seal the match with a 5-0 verdict.
Nikhat will square off against Uzbekistan’s Sabina Bobokulova in the gold medal match on Sunday.
It was an easy day at the office for Panghal (men’s 51kg) as he won his third consecutive match with a unanimous 5-0 decision, this time against Turkey’s Gumus Samet.
Amit used his experience to attack when needed while smartly using his footwork to get away from the punches of his opponent.
The Indian pugilist did not break a sweat as he continued to build on the momentum from the first round to get a comfortable win to enter the final.
Amit will take on the reigning world champion Kazakhstan’s Sanzhar Tashkenbay on Sunday.
Later, Arundhati Choudhary (66kg) made light work of Jessica Triebelova of Slovakia to secure a 5-0 win.
Arundhati will face a tough challenge from reigning World and Asian champion, China’s Yang Liu, on Sunday.
Barun Singh Shagolshem (48kg) continued India’s dominance with an identical 5-0 unanimous decision win over Khenoussi Kamel of Algeria.
He will take on Khodzhiev Anvarzhan of Kyrgyzstan in the final on Sunday.
Sachin (57kg) was in action against Ukraine’s Abduraimov Aider and he didn’t disappoint.
The Indian pugilist took some time to set his feet in the match as the Ukrainian boxer played the aggressor’s role. Sachin lost the first round with a close 2-3 score.
The southpaw showed his class in the second round, as he made full use of his long reach and delivered multiple strong left hooks to the opponent.
The third round was no different as Sachin successfully resisted every attempt by Aider and pinned him against the ropes, throwing a flurry of accurate punches to grab a comeback 4-1 win.
Sachin will go up against Uzbekistan’s Shakhzod Muzafarov in the summit clash on Sunday.
Rajat (67kg) also entered the final after his opponent Guruli Lasha of Georgia gave a walkover in the semifinal.