The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain and the 2021 Asian Championships bronze medallist Sakshi Choudhary put up stellar performances and registered impressive victories to advance to the quarter-finals of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi on Monday.

Living up to her name, Lovlina dominated proceedings by unleashing her attacking prowess on her opponent Vanessa Ortiz of Mexico before registering a statement 5-0 victory in the 75kg Round of 16 match. The Assam-born pugilist, who has two World Championships bronze medals under her belt, started the bout flawlessly, landing strong uppercuts and hooks to take control of the bout.

The 25-year-old carried her brilliant momentum into the next round with persistent attacks and smart footwork to which her Mexican opponent had no answer. Ultimately, Lovlina emerged victorious in the thoroughly one-sided contest to kickstart her campaign with an effortless victory.

“The opponent (Vanessa) was short in height and was attacking aggressively which is difficult to contain so my plan was to attack by keeping a distance. I am not that happy with my performance today as I think I could have done much better and I will definitely improve in my next bout. As this is my first World Championships in the 75kg category, it is a bit tough as all other boxers have been playing in this category since before but I believe that I can do well,” Lovlina said after the match.

She will be up against the top-seed and the last World Championships’ bronze medallist Rady Gramane of Mozambique in the next round.

Earlier, India’s dynamic 23-year-old boxer Sakshi hardly put a foot wrong in her commanding 5-0 win against the 2022 Asian Championships bronze medallist Zhazira Urakbayeva of Kazakhstan in the 52kg category pre-quarter-final. Utilising her reach to land relentless punches with both hands, the Haryana born pugilist looked to be in complete control from the word go and prevailed in the first round.

The two-time World Youth champion continued to dominate her Kazakh opponent in the next two rounds with her quick movement and smart attacking strategy to seal the victory comfortably by unanimous decision.

“The boxer from Kazakhstan (Urakbayeva) was tough, so I thought that the fight scores may go up or down but after following the strategy of the coaches and BFI, I could play well and could further dominate the bout to win by 5-0. Moreover, the people that have come to cheer further motivated me to win. My confidence is growing as the bouts progress so through the vigor and the passion that I currently possess, I am definitely focused on clinching the gold,” Sakshi commented after the match.

The Indian will now square off against Wu Yu of China in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Preeti (54kg) went down fighting 3-4 in a closely-contested encounter against last World Championships’ silver medallist Jitpong Jutamas of Thailand after the bout was reviewed. The 19-year-old Indian put up a strong fight but, despite her best efforts, could not replicate the result from her last bout where she had toppled the top-seed Perijoc Lacramiora of Romania.

The two-time Olympics medallist Li Qian of China and the five-time World Championships medallist Elif Guneri of Turkey also secured contrasting victories in the 75kg category. While Qian defeated Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chien-Yu with the Referee Stops the Contest (RSC) verdict in the opening round of the bout, Guneri had to fight hard before securing a close 4-1 victory against Viviane Pereira of Brazil.

Six Indians, including the reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Nitu Ghanghas (48kg), Manisha Moun (57kg), Jaismine Lamboriya (60kg), Shashi Chopra (63kg) and Manju Bamboriya (66kg), will compete in the pre-quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Olympics medallists Irma Testa (57kg) of Italy, Nesthy Petecio (57kg) of Philippines, Estelle Mossely (60kg) of France and Brazil’s Beatriz Iasmim Ferreira (60kg) will also be in action.

The on-going prestigious event is witnessing the participation of 324 boxers, including several Olympic medallists, from 65 countries fighting for the titles in the 12 weight categories. The tournament has a massive prize pool of INR 20 crore.

Indian Bouts on March 21 (Tuesday)

1: Nitu (48kg) vs Sumaiya Qosimova of Tajikistan- 2:30 PM (Round of 16 bout, Ring A)

2: Manisha (57kg) vs Nur Elif Turhan of Turkey- 3:45 PM (Round of 16 bout, Ring A)

3: Shashi Chopra (63kg) vs Mai Kito of Japan- 4:15 PM (Round of 16 bout, Ring B)

4: Nikhat (52kg) vs Patricia Alvarez Herrera of Mexico- 6 PM (Round of 16 bout, Ring A)

5: Jaismine (60kg) vs Mijgona Samadova of Tajikistan- 7:30 PM (Round of 16 bout, Ring B)

6: Manju Bamboriya (66kg) vs Navbakhor Khamidova of Uzbekistan- 8 PM (Round of 16 bout, Ring A)

Note: All the bouts on March 20 and March 21 will be round of 16 bouts.