Indian boxers Nikhat Zareen (52kg), Manisha (57kg) and Parveen (63kg) continued their stellar run at the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Istanbul on Monday by advancing to the semifinals of their respective events and confirming the medals for India.
Nikhat out-punched England's Charley-Sian Davison 5-0 while Parveen got the better of Shoira Zulkaynarova of Tajikistan with an identical margin. Manisha, on the other hand, defeated Mongolia's Namuun Monkhor in a hard-fought quarterfinal by a 4-1 split decision.
Nikhat, who won gold earlier this year at the Strandja Memorial, showed her technical supremacy to hand the country its first medal at this year's tournament with an impressive victory in the 52kg quarter-final. Her aggressive intent and clean attack left no chance for Davison as she looked in complete control throughout the bout.
With the two rounds in the bag, Nikhat displayed her defensive skills in the final few minutes to seal the victory.
"My opponent was taller than me today, so my strategy was to block her right hand which is her strength. I am delighted to give India the first medal, hope I can win the gold," Nikhat said after the bout.
The former junior world champion will next square off against Caroline De Almeida of Brazil, who defeated 2018 Commonwealth Games silver winner Carly McNaul of Ireland by unanimous decision.
The 24-year-old Manisha moved around the ring and used her long reach to good effect as she had three clean punches in the closely fought last-eight contest. She faces Italy's Irma Testa in the semifinals.
In the fourth Indian bout of the day, Parveen initially seemed hesitant to attack and looked out of depth, but as the seconds ticked away, coach Bhaskar Bhatt and the support staff encouraged her to go forward. She gained confidence as the bout progressed and notched up a memorable win to qualify for the semifinals.
However, Nitu (48kg) ended her campaign with a 2-3 split verdict quarterfinal loss to reigning Asian champion Alua Balkibekova of Kazakhstan, while two-time Asian champion Pooja Rani's (81kg) also made an exit as she lost 2-3 via a split verdict to Australia's Jessica Bagley.
Nitu, who is a two-time youth world champion, started the bout cautiously, enticing her opponent to come at her but struggled to land punches. She managed to up the ante in the final round but it was too late as the judges ruled in her opponent's favour.
Anamika (50kg), Jaisimine (60kg) and Nandini (81+kg) also lost their respective quarterfinal bouts. Colombia's Ingrit Valencia defeated Anamika 0-5 while USA's Rashida Ellis beat Jaismine 4-1. Nandini lost to Khaija Mardi of Morocco 0-5. The semi-final matches will take place on Wednesday, while the finals will be played on Thursday and Friday.
Nikhat Zareen (52kg) beat England's Charley-Sian Taylor Davison 5-0
Parveen (63kg) beat Tajikistan's Shoira Zulkaynarova 5-0
Manisha (57kg) beat Mongolia's Namuun Monkhor 4-1
Nitu (48kg) lost to Kazakhstan's Alua Balkibekova 2-3
Pooja Rani (81kg) lost to Australia's Jessica Bagley 2-3
Anamika (50kg) lost to Colombia's Ingrit Valencia 0-5
Jaismine (60kg) lost to Rashida Ellis of USA 1-4
Nandini (+81kg) lost to Khaija Mardi of Morocco 0-5
With inputs from PTI