CWG 2022: Nitu Ghanghas, Amit Panghal, Nikhat Zareen, Sagar Ahlawat reach boxing finals

Nitu Ghanghas Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Nitu Ghanghas beat Priyanka Dhillon of Canada to progress to the final of the women's 48kg quarterfinal, winning by RSC (referee stops contest). She will face Demie-Jade Resztan of England in the final. Thereafter, Amit Panghal beat Patrick Chinyemba of Zambia in the semifinal of the men's 51kg quarterfinal, winning 5-0 in an unanimous decision He faces Jake Dodd of Wales or Kiaran Macdonald of England in the final.

World champion Nikhat Zareen also entered the final of the women's 50kg division, beating Savannah Alfia Stubley of England by a 5-0 scoreline. She will face 2018 Gold Coast silver medallist, Carly McNaul of Northern Ireland in the final. Sagar Ahlawat made his maiden international final in the men's 92kg+ division, beating Ifeanyi Onyekwere of Nigeria in the semifinals.

Nitu a two-time World youth champion began in a southpaw stance, checking out her opponent in the beginning, before a flurry of punches. Her dominant left hook had Dhillon struggling, with Nitu connecting multiple times. Dhillon continued to take punishment, with Nitu connecting with multiple jabs to her opponent's face. Unsurprisingly, Nitu won the first round unanimously, 5-0.

The second period has Nitu starting off with some quick footwork to score with some combination punches, as Dhillon struggled to deal with Nitu's speed. The Canadian attempted to shuffle away with her guard up, but had no answer, getting a standing instruction, with Nitu winning the round unanimously as well.

The third round had Nitu dominating again, before another standing instruction to Dhillon meant the referee stopped the contest and awarded the bout to Nitu

Earlier, Nitu kick-started her CWG campaign with a dominant win over Northern Ireland's Nicole Clyde in the women's 48kg category quarterfinal. The 21-year-old from Dhanana in Bhiwani district dominated the first two rounds against Clyde before the bout was abandoned with the opponent throwing in the towel.

Making her CWG debut, Nitu had big shoes to fill in the weight category of MC Mary Kom, who injured herself during the selection trials held before the event. "This is the only the beginning, I have a long way to," said a supremely confident Nitu after her quarterfinal win.

"I just listen to my coaches and try to execute that in the ring," she said when asked about her long term goals.

The Strandja Memorial gold medallist had started boxing in 2012, had suffered a serious shoulder injury in 2019 that ruled her out of action for a long time.

After taking up the sport, Nitu's father had to leave his job in Chandigarh to support his daughter's dream. She hopes the medal in CWG leads to a financially secure future. "We live in a joint family. My father stays with me all the time so he can't work. His elder brothers take care of all the expenses as we live in a joint family. Hopefully, this medal will make a huge difference," added Nitu.


Amit Panghal progresses to final of men's 51kg division

Panghal and Chinyemba started off cautiously with a bit of shadow-boxing as Panghal remained in his open stance. Chinyemba then caught the Indian with a right hook, leading Panghal to become defensive and get his guard up. In an evenly fought contest, Chinyemba remained the more pro-active boxer, with Panghal losing the round 2-3 by a split decision.

The Indian boxer started the second round quite aggressively, but Chinyemba caught him by surprise with his speed and connected with a couple of jabs. Panghal, however, came into his own as the round went on, getting a couple of hits in later on. He went on have two judges ruling in his favour by the end of the second round, with the rest scoring it level.

Chinyemba attempted to goad Panghal into a slugfest in the third round but the Indian remained clever, waiting for an opening and usually connecting. His performance in the third round was enough for the judges to rule 5-0 in his favour.

Earlier, Amit Panghal made short work of Namri Berri of Vanuatu in his Round-of-16 bout, defeating him 5-0 in an unanimous decision. He went on to repeat that scoreline in his quarterfinal against Scotlan's Lennon Mulligan, assuring himself of a medal.

Ahead of this bout, Panghal was in a confident mood, saying "I am confident of winning the gold medal especially after that performance, I have been working on my endurance and footwork and I feel so strong because I know I can win every fight," he added.


Nikhat Zareen enters final of 50kg division

Nikhat and Stubley both started off aggressive, with the pair contesting from close range and often ending up in clinches. The Indian connected with a fair share of her punches before getting her opponent on the ropes towards the end. Nikhat took the first round 5-0.

Stubley attempted to close the range right from the off in the second round, with both in a clinch for much of the first minute. Nikhat did get a few body shots, but Stubley remained defensive. Nikhat caught her opponent with a right hook to the face as the round ended, which proved effective as she won 5-0 once more.

Nikhat maintained her distance in the final round, waiting for Stubley to get close before pouncing with opportunistic jabs. The Indian employed some clever footwork to shuffle away and as the bout progressed connected multiple times. The judges ruled the bout in her favour, with Nikhat winning 5-0 with ease.

Earlier, Nikhat Zareen started her CWG campaign with a comfortable win over Helena Ismael Bagao of Mozambique. Leading 5-0 at the end of two rounds, the 26-year-old triumphed in the third round after the referee stopped the contest. Nikhat underlined her gold-medal aims after her opening win, saying "I am feeling happy that I won my first bout and I am looking forward to performing well in the next rounds. I am just one fight away from a medal but I am looking to win gold from here."

The reigning world champion faced Helen Jones of Wales in the quarterfinal and won in an unanimous decision, taking the first two rounds with ease, before holding her own in the final round to assure herself of a medal.

Sagar Ahlawat makes final in international debut

Sagar started with his guard up and attempted a couple of uppercuts to begin the bout, connecting with a left jab which ended up in Onyekwere's mouthpiece being dislodged. The Indian boxer employed a southpaw stance for much of the round, but used his right hook a fair few times, with Onyekwere struggling in defence.

The judges ruled the first round in favour of Sagar, 5-0. The 23-yr-old inflicted plenty of punches on his opponent in the second round with the referee calling for a standing eight count on Onyekwere midway into the round. The judges once again ruled in his favour, scoring it 5-0 once more.

Onyekwere, forced into aggression as he was trailing, tried his best in the third round, but Sagar's footwork meant he was able to evade his opponent, as the Indian also get his guard up in a defensive display.