Vietnamese boxing world champ celebrates dream achievement

By Hoang An   October 23, 2021 | 11:30 pm PT
Vietnamese boxing world champ celebrates dream achievement
Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi (L) throws a punch at Etsuko Tada in the WBO World belt match, Oct. 23, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Trung Nam
Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi is overjoyed after winning the world mini-flyweight WBO title Saturday, defeating more experienced Japanese opponent Etsuko Tada.

"It’s hard to describe my feeling now. This is immense joy. Before the game, I was a bit nervous, because Tada was considered really strong and experienced. I thought she would cause a lot of difficulties for me," Nhi said. "However, after the first round, when I got to know her, she did not feel that strong. I chose a proper strategy and conserved my strength to win."

Nhi had gone into the title bout with just four professional fights, while Tada had 26 and was holding world title. The Vietnamese woman was also shorter and had a smaller arm span, but she was younger, faster and more accurate.

Although there was a time when a cut above her eye was bleeding, Nhi stayed strong and on target to edge out Tada 96-94 after 10 rounds.

"This is a meaningful victory, to become the first female boxer in Vietnam to win a WBO World belt. I didn’t expect that I’d come this far. I have realized my dream after putting all of my passion and strength into this fight as a Vietnamese citizen, " Nhi said. "This is a victory for the Vietnamese martial arts scene."

Masato Yamashita, chairman of Japan Professional Boxing Association (JPBA) told Japanese news site "I have contacted the JBC (Japan Boxing Commission) immediately after the match. We will protest this decision."

Nhi started practicing boxing when she was 13. She participated in Vietnam’s first semi-pro boxing tournament in 2015 and turned professional three years later.

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