India’s Nikhat Zareen has won the gold medal in the 52-kilogram category against Thai Jutamas Jitpong at the World Women’s Boxing Championship in Istanbul on May 19. She won with a unanimous 5-0 verdict. The 25-year-old boxer brought home the world title to India for the first time in 14 years since Mary Kom won it. 

Nikhat Zareen is the 5th Indian to join the elite club of World Championship winners. But she had to face hardships and failures to reach where she is today. The unstoppable Nikhat Zareen is now looking forward to the Paris Olympics in 2024.

In 2019, when Zareen asked for a fair trial against India’s legendary boxer Mary Kom after being denied a chance to compete in the Tokyo Olympics trials, the latter famously asked: “Who is Nikhat Zareen?”

Zareen is a world champion three years later, winning India’s first gold since Mary Kom won it in 2018.

After her win on Thursday, Zareen told a news conference that she would dedicate the medal to all the compatriots who supported her throughout her career.

Zareen also said it was her dream to trend on Twitter.

“Am I trending on Twitter? It was always my dream to be a trend on Twitter and to achieve something for my country at the world level is the biggest motivation,” she said.

The boxer, who hails from a middle-class family in Telangana’s Nizamabad town, said she had to overcome various odds to carve out a niche for herself in boxing.

“I had to work hard and overcome hurdles including talk that boxing is not for women. I had to tell people that nothing will happen to my face and my beauty will be intact,” she said last year during the launch of a campaign by sportswear giant Adidas.

“These very words challenged me and I wanted to go out there and prove that boxing doesn’t care whether you are a man or a woman. It’s the desire and aspiration that should matter. Boxing for me is more to do with the attitude and my sense of pride.”

Target – Olympic Gold Medal

Nikhat started her boxing journey in earnest in 2009, won the youth world championship in 2011, fell in the quarters of the senior world championship in 2016, and has now won the gold. “My dream, my goal, is to win an Olympic gold medal for my country. I am working hard towards that goal,” she said.