Nikhat, Nitu, Hussamuddin confirm boxing medals, Lovlina, Ashish lose in quarterfinals


Nitu Ghanghas, Nikhat Zareen and Mohammad Husamuddin confirmed boxing medals for India by qualifying for the semifinals, but Olympic bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain suffered a shock defeat in the quarterfinals. Ashish Kumar also lost his quarterfinal bout against Aaron Bowen of England.

Nitu assured herself of a medal in her maiden Commonwealth Games campaign as she beat Northern Ireland’s Nicole Clyde in the women’s 48kg quarterfinal on Wednesday. Mohammad Husamuddin followed suit by defeating Nigeria’s Tryagain Morning Ndevelo in the men’s 57kg quarterfinal to claim his second CWG medal.

World champion Nikhat Zareen then came up against Helen Jones of Wales in the women’s 50kg and won the bout by a unanimous decision.

Lovlina lost her women’s 70kg quarterfinals against Rossie Eccles by a split decision 3-2. It was a close bout but it looked like Eccles was the better of the two in the opening two rounds. But somehow the judges gave the two rounds to Lovlina by a split decision.

Lovlina also got a point deduction in the second round for holding. Eccles won the final round comprehensively and clinched the bout 3-2 by a split decision.

Meanwhile, Nitu was in complete control of the contest as she won the first two rounds before the Northern Ireland camp decided to throw in the towel ahead of the third round.

Both boxers began in a southpaw stance and Nitu worked on the back foot, drawing Nicole in and raining punches on her. Nicole, 19 and also making her CWG debut, struggled to find any rhythm as Nitu bossed the opening round.

Nicole shed a few tears at the interval but came back stronger in the second round. She showed plenty of attacking intent and landed a solid few punches on Nitu, but the Indian was simply too strong for her.

Nitu, a two-time World youth champion, had Nicole scrambling for cover as she attacked her with a barrage of punches. The Irish boxer looked exasperated as the second round came to an end. Nicole was reduced to tears soon after as her coaching camp decided to throw in the towel and award the bout to Nitu.

– Hussamuddin through two semis –

Hussamuddin faced a stiff challenge from Ndevelo as the two southpaws traded blows from the get-go in the opening round. The Indian lost his footing and almost tripped over in the first minute, but that was the only blip in an otherwise successful start for him.

Ndevelo came out all guns blazing in the second round and took Hussamuddin by surprise. It took him a while to adjust to the Nigerian’s frantic pace of attacking. Ndevelo landed a monstrous left hook on Hussamuddin mid-way the round and the Indian duly returned the favor with a two-punch combo. The second round was a split decision and Hussamuddin needed just one judge to favor him in the third round.

Ndevelo, needing to go all out to snap up the win, gave it his all but Hussamuddin played a composed third round and turned on the afterburners in the final minute to progress.

*****

Nikhat was a clear favorite in her bout against Jones. She dominated the first two rounds, landing almost all her powerful punches. Knowing she did enough to win the bout, Nikhat concentrated on her defense in the final round and tried to stay away from her opponent. In the end, she won the bout by a unanimous decision.

*****

Ashish Kumar lost his quarterfinal bout against Aaron Bowen of England by a 4-1 split decision in the men’s 80kg division.

Ashish Kumar started off fairly aggressive, in a bit to silence the partisan crowd favoring Aaron Bowen of England. Employing open guards for much of the fight, Ashish and Bowen caught each other multiple times with hooks, the result being a 3-2 split decision in favor of the Indian in the opening round.

Bowen caught Ashish early on his chin with a jab in the second round, with the Indian employing a more defensive posture. The cheers rang out as the pair dropped their defenses and exchanged a flurry of punches. Ashish ramped up the aggression in the final seconds, connecting multiple times in a full-blooded encounter. However, the judges ruled the round in Bowen’s favour, another 3-2 split.

Bowen kept his distance and guard up in the final round, but Ashish remained aggressive. The pair dropped all pretense of defense and went at each other in a slugfest as the bout ended, with Bowen’s eyebrow cut open. With both sets of support thinking they had won, the judges ruled in favor of Aaron Bowen by split decision, with Ashish Kumar dropping to his knees in disappointment.

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