Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain started her campaign at the 12th edition of the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships with a close win on Monday.
The 24-year-old Indian boxer beat former world champion Chen Nien-Chin 3-2 in the 70kg category in Istanbul. This was her first bout on the international circuit since last year's Games.
The Chinese Taipei boxer entered the match with a 3-1 head-to-head record. She had defeated the Indian in the 2018 World Championships semi-final while Lovlina's only win came at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics quarter-final, which secured her bronze.
On Monday, both the boxers started off cautiously in the first round. In the intensely-fought second and final, both were exchanging heavy punches. Chen, who won gold and bronze medals in 2018 and 2016 respectively at the World Championships, tried attacking but the swift-moving Indian managed to block with a good defence technique and tilted the result in her favour.
Lovlina will take on Cindy Ngamba of Fair Chance Team in the round-of-16 match on Friday.
On the second day, Nitu will be the lone Indian boxer in action, taking on Romania's Steluta Duta in the 48kg opening round. Four Indians-Shiksha (54kg), Manisha (57kg), Ankushita (66kg) and Nandini (+81kg)-have been handed a bye in their respective opening rounds.
In the last edition of the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships held in Russia in 2019, Indian boxers had clinched one silver and three bronze medals. India's tally of 36 medals, including nine gold, eight silver and 19 bronze, so far in the 11 editions of the tournament is the third highest after Russia (60) and China (50).