Two-time world champion Nikhat Zareen’s long winning streak came to an end as she signed off with a bronze medal while Parveen Hooda grabbed a Paris Olympic quota at the Asian Games here on Sunday.
Competing in the women’s 50kg category, Zareen lost a fiercely contested 50kg semifinal battle 2-3 to two-time world championships medallist Raksat Chuthamat of Thailand.
Parveen, who won the bronze medal in the 63kg at the 2022 World Boxing Championships, moved past Uzbekistan’s Sitora Turdibekova by unanimous verdict to move the 57kg semifinal and confirm India a medal.
The in-form Zareen, who has dropped down from her preferred 52kg weight class as it doesn’t feature in the Paris Olympic, hasn’t lost a bout since October’s National Championships in 2021. She had even out-punched Chuthamat at the world championships earlier this year.
But on Sunday, Chuthamat came well prepared for the Indian pugilist, who has stamped her authority in the international arena.
After losing the first round on three cards, the Thai boxer cramped Zareen and resorted to clinching every time the Indian tried to mount an attack.
Zareen has enjoyed an incredible run in the past couple of years, winning the prestigious Strandja Memorial boxing tournament, two world championships and the Commonwealth Games.
She returns home with not only a bronze but also an Olympic quota.
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Parveen, the reigning Asian champion was in her elements from the word go, using her long arms to throw punches from a distance and control the proceedings.
She switched between the left jab and the right cross to unnerve the 21-year-old Uzbek. Parveen fought a strategic bout as after going on the offensive in the opening round, she waited for Turdibekova to come forward, only to pummel her with accurate scoring punches.