Going into their third match of the World Series of Boxing, Venky's Mumbai Fighters needed just one victory over the Los Angeles Matadors to clinch victory as the  visiting outfit were two men short in the five-man contest, giving away walkovers in the bargain. 

Venky's Mumbai Fighters' Jitender Kumar (left) lands a left to LA's 
Joet Gonzalez's face during yesterday's World Series of Boxing bout in 
Malad. Pic/Ashish Rane

LA's light heavyweight fighter Levan Guledani and bantamweight boxer Fernando Martinez were missing from the open ring at the Inorbit Mall yesterday. While Guledani didn't travel to India, Martinez was unfit to fight on the day. This, however, did not take away from the supershow put on by Mumbai Fighters Jitender Kumar (bantamweight), Siddharth Varma (lightweight), Patrick Gallagher (middleweight) and Paul Koon (heavyweight).

 Amidst chants of Ganpati Bappa Morya from the packed open-air stands all the Mumbai Fighters registered comprehensive wins. Union sports minister Ajay Maken graced the event in a show of the 'government's support to the sport of boxing'. 

Though Jitender's was an exhibition bout, as his opponent was unfit to take to the ring, the Bhiwani fighter started with a bang nevertheless. He outpunched Joet Gonzalez with a series of low combination  punches to emerge a 3-0 (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) victor. 

In the second fight, Siddharth lived up to his 'Buddy Body' nickname as he smiled his way to victory against the more experienced Eric Fowler. The Pune lad won 3-0 (48-47, 48-47, 48-47). Thereafter, the experienced Gallagher had it tough against the taller Russell Lamour who used his better height and reach to his advantage. Gallagher however was the bigger puncher and won 2-1 (48-47, 48-47, 47-48) via split decision. Muscleman Koon then rounded off the night as he put it across Javier Torres 3-0 (49-46, 49-46, 49-46), thereafter even flexing his muscles for the over-enthusiastic crowd. The win takes Mumbai Fighters into third spot in the six-team Group A and keeps them in good stead for the quarter-finals.

Mumbai Fighters' veteran boxer Akhil Kumar later summed up the night: "India may have entered professional boxing a bit late, but today our boys showed that they are quick learners nevertheless. This is only our third match (having previously lost 2-3 to Milano Thunders in Pune and 0-5 to Dinamo Moscow in Russia). We are now ready to be serious contenders for the World Series of Boxing title."