Nitu Ghanghas was crowned world champion after she beat Mongolia's Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg in the final of the 45-48kg minimum weight category at the 2023 IBA Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi on Saturday.
Saweety Boora was also crowned world champion after she beat Wang Lina of China in the 75-81 kg light heavyweight category. This is India's first ever gold in the worlds in the light heavyweight category.
Wang started the bout on the front foot, and within a minute she had connected with a few clean combinations. Saweety lost her footing around the minute mark after that initial onslaught but that seemed to jolt her into action - and land two right-left combinations almost immediately. A left uppercut connected in the final minute, and allowed Saweety to push Wang into the ropes. The final flurry seemed to have swayed the judges and Saweety took the first round 3-2.
Wang connected early on in the second round, a straight arm jab connecting flush on Saweety's face. Wang, lighter on her feet, continued to attack - Saweety's response was to get her head down and charge (quite literally) at her opponent. A fair few clinches ensued but another late flurry saw the judges give her the second round with the same score: 3-2.
The third round started with Wang on the attack again - naturally considering she'd lost the first two rounds. She had Saweety on the floor twice in the opening minute, the Indian losing energy as Wang went on the offensive. Once again, though, Saweety came alive in the last minute, landing a late flurry of windmill punches. This saw the match go into a late review - with both boxers anxiously waiting for the result.
By split decision, it was Saweety Boora who took the result.
Earlier in the evening, Nitu beat Lutsaikhan by unanimous decision (5-0) to cap a dominant display.
In the opening round, both boxers raced out of their corners, trying to take the initiative from the off. It was Nitu, though, who landed the first punch. They then traded a few punches before Nitu was wrestled to the ground by Lutsaikhan within the opening thirty seconds.
A flurry of wild swings from Lutsaikhan were easily evaded by a bouncing Nitu before the Indian connected with a couple of right arm jabs and two solid left handed hooks. At the end of the round, though, Lutsaikhan connected with a hard hook; but it wasn't enough to sway the judges and Nitu took the round 5-0.
Round 2 started with Lutsaikhan on the front foot, needing to land a few punches, but Nitu danced around her and kept her distance - till she went for a wild punch that she completely missed with. Nitu lost her footing and Lutsaikhan capitalized, landing a few punches over the next exchanges. Nitu got a yellow card toward the end of the round, meaning she had to be careful in the last round. At the end of round 2, Nitu was leading 3-2.
Lutsaikhan knew she had to connect far more in the last round, but her aggression left openings in her defence - which allowed Nitu to connect multiple times. Nitu landed two uppercuts in the last ten seconds of the bout and her dominance was reflected in the score.
WHAT THEY SAID
On the match: "My opponent was also getting aggressive. I had to be aggressive from the first round to get points. I had discussed this bout with my coaches yesterday, and the plan was always to go aggressive in the first round to get the score."
On her struggles: "This medal is very important to me. I had worked so hard for so many years - I've been boxing since 2012. My family has supported me throughout."
On the prize money: "It's very good that we're getting so much prize money (INR 82.7 lakhs for gold). It'll now be even easier for me to train, we used to have financial problems at home, but that's not going to be there: so my full focus will be on training."
On the win: "I am thrilled after fulfilling my dream of becoming the World Champion. The bout went well, and I was able execute our planning perfectly. My performances in the tournament got better as the bouts progressed with my body also responding well."