India’s Nikhat Zareen (52kg), Parveen (63kg), Anamika (50kg) and Jaismine (60kg) eased past their respective rivals to reach the quarter-finals at the 12th edition of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul on Sunday.

Appearing in the ring first on the day, Nikhat made light work of her Mongolian rival Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg by an unanimous 5-0 verdict to sail into the quarter-finals of the 52kg category.

The Nizamabad boxer used her quick hands to great effect and landed a flurry of straight punches on her rival’s face in all the three rounds. The highlight of Nikhat’s display was her immaculate footwork and speed, which the Mongolian found difficult to handle.

Focus on one punch at a time for Nikhat Zareen, with Paris 2024 as the ultimate aim

Nikhat will next face England’s Charley Davison, who defeated Hainite Kayla of Togo in the Round of 16.

Later, Parveen and Anamika defeated Sofia Jajaria Gonzalez of USA and Australian Kristy Lee Harris by identical 5-0 margins to book their last-eight berths.

The third Indian to appear in the ring, Parveen played a smart game throughout the entire nine minutes. The lanky Indian preferred to stay back and play the waiting game. Her strategy succeeded as she used her long reach to great effect to land straight punches from distance on the American whenever she got the opening.

She continued with the same tactic in all the three rounds and managed to pocket the bout by an unanimous decision. Parveen will next face Shoira Zulkaynarova of Tajikistan in the quarter-final.

The highlight of the day was pocket-sized dynamo Anamika, who stunned World Championships bronze medallist Harris of Australia and won by 5-0.

Anamika countered her short height with aggressive intent as she rattled her opponent in the opening round with a combination of right and left. Her quick hands and nimble footwork proved to be too good for the Australian, who struggled to land clear cut punches.

She will next face Rio Olympic bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia in the quarter-final on Monday.

Jaismine (60kg), who was up against Angela Harries of Australia showed her class and superiority as she relentlessly landed accurate punches at her opponent which forced the referee to stop the bout in the first round. She will square off against 2019 World Championships bronze medallist Rashida Ellis in the last-8 stage.

It was not quite the perfect day for India however as Ankushita (66kg) ended her campaign in the pre-quarter finals as she suffered a 0-5 defeat against Poland’s Aneta Rygielska. Shiksha (54kg) couldn’t move to the next round too as she lost 2-3 by a split decision to Youth Asian bronze medallist Yesugen Oyuntsetseg of Mongolia.

In total, eight Indian boxers have qualified for the last 8 stage. 2022 Strandja Memorial Gold medallist Nitu (48kg) will take on Alua Balkibekova of Kazakhstan in the last-8 match, while Manisha (57kg) will face a tough challenge from Youth World bronze medallist Namuun Monkhor of Mongolia.

Tokyo Olympian and two-time Asian Champion Pooja Rani (75kg) will fight against Australia’s Jessica Bagley in her last-eight bout, while Nandini (81+kg) will begin her campaign against Morocco’s Khadija Mardi in the last eight stage.

All the quarter-finals will take place on Monday.

This year’s event, which marks the 20th anniversary of the IBA Women’s World Championships, will be played till May 20. In the last edition of the tournament, held in Russia in 2019, Indian boxers secured one silver and three bronze medals.

Indian boxers have won 36 medals, including nine gold, eight silver and 19 bronze, in the 11 previous editions of the tournament, which is the third highest after Russia (60) and China (50). In the last edition of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, held in Russia in 2019, Indians concluded with one silver and three bronze medals.