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Akash Kumar ensures medal at Men's Boxing World Championships

Published at :November 3, 2021 at 2:19 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : BFI)

Shaunak Ghosh

The 21-year-old stunned Rio Olympics silver medalist Yoel Finol to advance to the semi-final.

Demonstrating exemplary courage and tactical nous during the right moments, Akash Kumar (54kg) stunned Rio Olympic silver medallist Yoel Finol of Venezuela in the quarter-final to confirm India’s first medal at AIBA Men’s Boxing World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia on Tuesday.

Akash Kumar (21), who hails from Bhiwani, started fearlessly and dominated throughout the bout. With nimble footwork, long reach, accurate punching and terrific speed, he counter-attacked relentlessly in the initial rounds of the Men’s Boxing World Championships.

His opponent tried to assert himself in the final round, but Akash stayed out of his range, evaded punches, and moved around the ring confidently.

“Our strategy was to be on an attacking mode to win the first round, and then in the next rounds, the aim was to counter-attack and keep the flurry of punches,” Akash Kumar said.

Dedicating the win to his mother, who died before the Championships began, and to his father, who passed away in 2010, he said, “This medal means the world to me. I want to dedicate it to my parents. This is my first big tournament and I am extremely proud and emotional. I want to give absolutely everything to bring home the gold medal. I want to thank all my coaches and support staff who have helped me reach here.”

Akash Kumar will take on Makhmud Sabyrkhan of Kazakhstan in the semi-final on Thursday.

With this win, Akash Kumar has confirmed at least a bronze on World Championships’ debut. He has become the 7th Indian male boxer to win a medal in this tournament.

Later tonight, Narender Berwal (+92kg) will face Azerbaijan’s Mahammad Abdullayev, while Nishant Dev (71kg) will take on Russia’s Vadim Musaev.

Five-time Asian Champion Shiva Thapa (63.5 kg) will be up against Turkey’s Kerem Oezmen in the quarter-finals. He is one win away from becoming the first Indian male boxer to claim two World Championships medals.

The 2021 Asian Champion, Sanjeet (92kg), a quarter-finalist at the 2019 World Championships, will square off against Italy’s Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine.

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