In a thrilling rematch of the World Championship final, Nikhat Zareen, India's top boxer, demonstrated her prowess by defeating Vietnam's Thi Tam Nguyen with a score of 5-0. This victory propelled her into the pre-quarterfinals of the women's 50kg category at the Asian Games held on Sunday. Concurrently, Preeti Pawar, another Indian boxing talent in the 54kg category, secured her spot in the quarterfinals.

Zareen, a two-time world champion, triumphed over Nguyen, a two-time Asian Champion, in a unanimous decision. Despite being one of only four boxers who did not receive a first-round bye in the 50kg event, Zareen, as the reigning world champion, took control from the outset.

Zareen shared that she had not anticipated a one-sided bout but had strategized to make it so. Her plan was to secure victory in the first two rounds and then conserve energy in the third. True to her strategy, Zareen delivered precise punches in the initial two rounds, unsettling her opponent.

Her powerful performance led the referee to give Nguyen an eight-count twice within the first 30 seconds of the opening round. When Nguyen attempted to retaliate in the second round, Zareen responded with a strong combination of punches, leading to a third eight-count for

the Vietnamese boxer. Having accomplished her goal, Zareen spent the final three minutes skillfully defending herself using her agile footwork.

With the coveted Olympic quotas on the line, Zareen is focusing on qualifying for the Paris Games. She plans to concentrate on securing her qualification first, and then gradually set her sights on the final and gold.

Meanwhile, Preeti Pawar put on an impressive show, winning her match against Jordan's Silina Alhasanat when the referee stopped the contest. Zareen is set to face Chorong Bak of South Korea in the Round of 16, while Preeti is preparing for a challenging bout against seasoned Kazakh boxer and three-time world medalist Zhaina Shekerbekova.

Preeti, who reached the pre-quarterfinals of the World Championships earlier this year, is now just one match away from securing both a medal and an Olympic quota. In her match against Alhasanat, Preeti initially adopted a defensive strategy before switching to an aggressive approach. After a calm start, she launched an offensive, landing perfect jabs and hooks to easily win the first two rounds. Despite showing initial promise, Alhasanat struggled as the referee gave her two standing counts in the second and third rounds before stopping the contest.
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