Nikhat Zareen, the current world champion, once again brought honour to the country by winning the women’s lightweight division at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The 26-year-old had earlier scripted history by winning gold at the Women’s World Boxing Championships, defeating Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas, in the 52kg finals.   

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Zareen is a flyweight boxer from Nizamabad, Telangana, and has shown stellar form this year. Her win cements Zareen’s spot in an elite list of Indian women boxers to have won the world title, including MC Mary Kom, Sarita Devi, Jenny RL and Lekha C.

She completed her primary education at the Nirmala Hrudaya Girls High School in Nizamabad and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) at AV College in Hyderabad

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The 25-year-old has a rivalry with Mary Kom, who spars in the same category and is one of the most successful boxers in world championship history. 

However, Zareen has been aiming for the stars, and February 2022 saw her become the first Indian woman to get two golds at the Strandja Memorial. Zareen also won bronze at the 2019 Asian Championship and is a former junior world champion. 

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After the victory that landed her in the final spot, Zareen said, “My strategy today was to not let her play her natural game, and instead, make her adjust to my game. That was the strategy, and I adopted it successfully. I’m now looking forward to returning home with the gold medal”. 

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She entered the Commonwealth Games as the reigning world champion and a favourite in lightweight category. She won the gold  by winning the final (vs  Carly McNaul of Northern Ireland), semi final (vs Stubley Alfia Savannah of England) and quarter final (vs Helen Jones of Wales) 5-0 in an unanimous verdict was defeated by her in a unanimous decision to win the gold medal.

Zareen’s boxing successes have landed her an Adidas endorsement, and she’s also supported by the Welspun group.