Defending champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) was off to a resounding start at the Strandja Memorial boxing tournament, outpunching Morocco’s Yasmine Mouttaki in Sofia, Bulgaria on Tuesday. Zareen, former junior world champion, prevailed 5-0 to enter the second round.
The Hyderabadi is competing in her first tournament after the bitter selection row for next month’s Olympic qualifiers. She had lost to six-time world champion M C Mary Kom in the trials. Among other Indians in the competition, four-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (63kg) got a bye into the second round.
In the other Boxing events, the seasoned M Meena Kumari (54kg) was among the four Indian pugilists who claimed silver medals at the 9th Nation’s Cup boxing tournament for women in Sombor, Serbia.
None of the Indians could win their summit bouts on Sunday night with Monika (48kg), Ritu Grewal (51kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (75kg) being the other silver medal winners apart from Meena.
Signing off with bronze medals were Pavitra (60kg) and Pwilao Basumatary (64kg). Both of them lost in the semifinals.
Meena, who claimed a gold medal at the World Cup in Cologne last year and is also an Asian medallist, lost to Italy’s Giordana Sorrentino 1-4 in a hard-fought contest.
Monika also went down in a split verdict to Russia’s Iuliia Chumgalakova, while Ritu was beaten 0-4 by China’s Cai Yan.
Kachari, the reigning national champion, lost 1-4 to Morocco’s Khadija Mardi.
Earlier in the semifinals, Basumatary was disqualified in the third round of her clash against Croatian Sara Kos. Pavitra fought hard against Italy’s Rebecca Nicoli but lost 2-3.