Giant-killing Nikhat Zareen, Gaurav Solanki settle for bronze at Bosphorus boxing meet

Both Indian boxers lost their semi-final bout at the Istanbul meet.

By Utathya Nag

The Indian challenge at the Bosphorus boxing tournament in Turkey ended on Friday, with Nikhat Zareen (women’s 51kg) and Gaurav Solanki (men’s 57kg) losing their respective semi-final bouts and settling for bronze medals.

The two bronze medals were all the Indian pugilists could manage from the meet at Istanbul. Thirteen Indian boxers participated in the tournament.

Asian championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen defeated reigning world champion Ekaterina Paltceva of Russia in the pre-quarterfinals and two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay of Kazakhstan in the quarter-finals to make her way into the top four.

Up against Turkey’s Busenaz Cakiroglu in the semis, though, Nikhat Zareen’s winning momentum fizzled out.

Both boxers took a cautious approach in the opening round but went for the kill in the subsequent rounds. Home favourite Cakiroglu eventually came out on top and secured a unanimous 5-0 win.

Interestingly, Busenaz Cakiroglu had won the 2019 world championships silver medal after beating Nikhat Zareen’s domestic arch-rival MC Mary Kom in the 51kg semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gaurav Solanki, who notched up impressive wins in the previous rounds, fell to Argentina’s Nirco Cuello.

Gaurav fought hard and displayed his attacking prowess from the start but conceded clear punches in the dying minutes to lose 5-0 and bow out of the tournament.