No medal for India at World Boxing Championships this time
Indian boxers will return empty-handed from the World Championships for the first time in four years after none of the five quarterfinalists managed to make the semifinal of the biennial mega-event, here today.
After the afternoon losses of fourth seed Shiva Thapa (56kg) and sixth seed Manoj Kumar, Vikash Malik (60kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg) also lost their quarterfinal bouts in the evening session. Satish Kumar (+91kg), meanwhile, was declared medically unfit to fight after sustaining a cut above his right eye yesterday in the pre-quarters.
While fourth seed Shiva went down to Azerbaijan's Javid Chalabiyev, sixth seed Manoj was defeated by Cuba's Yasnier Lopez. Both the boxers lost by a similar margin of 0-3. Later in the second session, Vikash lost 0-3 to fourth seeded Brazillian Robson Conceicao, a Pan-American Games silver-medallist. Sumit (81kg), on the other hand, went down to world number one and top seed Adilbek Niyazymbetov of Kazakhstan.
Shiva was the first to take the ring and made an energetic start, showcasing some fine ring craft to wriggle out when cornered but Chalabiyev's aggression impressed the judges, who gave first round unanimously to Chalabiyev. In the second round, both the boxers tried to counter-attack but ended up clinching and holding each other for the majority of the time.
There was hardly any aggression on display but Chalabiyev managed to have the upperhand in this round too. In the final three minutes, Shiva tried to go all out and did manage to connect some clear blows but Chalabiyev mostly indulged in clinching to halt the pace of the proceedings. The Azerbaijan boxer was cautioned quite a few times for his tactics but with a 2-0 cushion to fall back on, Chalabiyev decided to play it safe.
"It is disappointing but hopefully Shiva will learn from this experience. There was nothing extraordinary about the Azerbaijan boy, he was just a normal counter-puncher," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI. Next man in was Manoj and he put up a valiant fight against Cuba's Olympic bronze-medallist Yasnier Lopez in all the three rounds but still ended up on the losing side.
"Manoj boxed mostly on the long and medium range and gave his best. It was a good performance even though he lost," Sandhu said. "He gave a very good account of himself in the bout," he added. In the evening session, Vikash started the proceedings for India and found himself struggling with technique despite showing a lot of heart to fight against the supremely fit Brazilian.
Robson was aggressive from the opening second itself and used his better reach to good effect by being viciously precise with his uppercuts and body blows which forced Vikash into a shell guard. The Indian ended up getting standing eight counts in each of three rounds due to the cracking blows of Robson even though he showed tremendous endurance to withstand the assault.
Vikash's wild atempts at hitting straight just did not connect powerfully enough to convince the judges, who were nonetheless liberal in giving him points in the second and third round for his sheer determination. Sumit also failed to spring any surprise when he faced the Olympic silver-medallist Niyazymbetov. Both the boxers chose to play the waiting game and counter-attack but none gave the other too many chances to capitalise.
There were hardly any punches exchanged between the two as they spent almost the entire 11 minutes getting a measure of each other. Sumit, despite being taller and having better reach, failed to engage Niyazymbetov, who connected clearly in the few opportunities he got to be the clear winner at 3-0. With this edition's campaign ending on a disappointing note, India's all-time medal tally at the World Championships remained just two.
Vijender Singh (75kg), who bowed out of the ongoing event in the second round, opened India's account in 2009 with a bronze medal. In the very next edition in Azerbaijan, Vikas Krishan (69kg) also grabbed a bronze medal.