World champion Nikhat Zareen opened her Commonwealth Games campaign by defeating Mozambique’s Helena Bagao in the women’s 50kg boxing event in Birmingham on Sunday. However, former World Championships bronze medalist Shiva Thapa lost to Scotland’s Worlds medalist Reece Lynch in the men’s 63.5kg pre-quarterfinal bout.
Nikhat, who won the 52kg world title in May, will face Wales’ Helen Jones in the quarterfinals on August 3.
It was a walk in the park for Nikhat as he maintained a good distance and counterattacked to take the first round convincingly. In the next two rounds, India showed more aggression and rained shots. Helena got a standing count before the referee stopped the contest in the final period.
The trick failed
Against the taller southpaw, Thapa went in and out to score with some solid right punches and win the first round by unanimous decision. However, Lynch increased his attack to close the gap and the contest was evenly balanced after two rounds.
Lynch took a very physical final round between heavy punches for a 4-1 win.
Sanjeet narrowly lost
On Saturday night, Asian champion Sanjeet Kumar won both rounds but lost his 92kg bout 3-2 to Samoan Ato Plodziki-Favogali.
One judge chose Sanjeet as the winner, while another judge preferred the Samoan. The third judge – Sushanta Tennage of Sri Lanka – scored a 28-28 tie. Later, Sushantha – who took the first two rounds 10-9 to Sanjeet – ironically chose Plodzicki-Faogali to break the deadlock.