Injured Akhil regrets not being able to help Mumbai Fighters in the ring
Venky's Mumbai Fighters will have to wait longer before star pugilist Akhil Kumar dons their colours in a World Series of Boxing match. Akhil, who is yet to feature for the Mumbai franchise, will sit out their fourth round bout against Los Angeles Matadors at In-Orbit Mall, Malad on December 9, due to a calf injury. Akhil suffered a muscle tear in his right calf while training last week that saw his role reduced to cheering for the team from the sidelines.
Indian boxing ace Akhil Kumar during a promotional event in Mumbai yesterday. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Mumbai Fighters lost their opening two Group A games to Dolce & Gabbano Milano Thunders 2-3 and Dynamo Moscow 0-5 before getting a walk-over against Bangkok Elephants. They are now placed fifth with four points and must defeat Matadors to keep their quarter-final hopes alive.
'We'll improve' Akhil expressed his helplessness on not being able to help his team in the ring but at the same time is confident his teammates will get back to winning ways soon. "I don't think that Mumbai Fighters have had a bad start. This is the first time that we are participating in the tournament. "The team has lost the first two rounds but I know that the boys are trying hard. I am sure that they will slowly improve as the tournament progresses.
"My injury has also come at such a time that I cannot get into the ring and win bouts for them and that makes me feel helpless. But I have faith in the boys and know for sure that they will come back strong against LA Matadors," said the Arjuna awardee.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Fighters manager Lenny D'Gama is confident that the team will win against Matadors. "It would have been nice if Akhil could be fit and play in the lightweight category. But I am confident that even without him we can win against LA," said D'Gama.
Diwakar Prasad will replace Akhil in the light-weight category. Akhil is set to return for a bout against Milano Thunders away in Italy on January 13, according to manager D'Gama.