Vietnamese boxer Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi has made history after defeating her Japanese opponent to win the first-ever World Boxing Organization (WBO) world championship for Vietnam.
Nhi, 25, beat Japan’s Etsuko Tada 96-94 to win the WBO women's mini-flyweight title in Ansan, South Korea on Saturday evening.
Prior to the match, the Vietnamese boxer had won four professional fights, including the victory over Thailand’s Kanyarat Yoohanngoh in February 2020, which earned her the WBO Asia-Pacific belt and a ticket to the WBO world championship.
To prepare for the battle, Nhi had traveled to Uzbekistan for an intensive training.
Nhi was considered an underdog compared to 40-year-old Tada, the reigning WBO champion who had had 26 fights, with 20 wins, three draws, and three losses.
The Vietnamese athlete started off the game with a wise and cautious strategy as she had studied her opponent carefully.
Nhi did not allow Tada to get too close in order to avoid the latter’s dangerous left hooks, and kept moving until she had an opportunity to dish out accurate strikes.
However, the Vietnamese was still hit by some of Tada’s strong attacks, which caused injuries around her right eye.
The match was neck-and-neck and ended after 10 rounds with a breathtaking victory for Nhi.
Nhi said it was a dream come true as she has become the first Vietnamese to win a WBO world belt.
“I would like to dedicate this achievement to my family and all of the people who have supported me,” she said.
Born in 1996 in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, Nhi grew up in a poor family before moving to Ho Chi Minh City with her grandmother.
She had sold lottery tickets and worked at local diners to earn a living before becoming a boxer in 2015.