New Delhi:In an official send-off ceremony of Indian contingent to Beijing, Suresh Kalmadi, President of Indian Olympic Association had said he hoped medals from shooting and boxing. While shooter Abhinav Bindra clinched the gold, boxer Akhil Kumar has kept the hopes alive for another medal as he successfully advanced to the quarterfinals of the 54 kg category event after defeating the reigning World Champion Sergey Vodopyanov of Russia.
His journey to quarterfinals
Akhil faced Ali Hallab of France in the second round of the bantamweight category. He was in control right from the beginning and led 4-2 after the first round. A lop-sided second round saw him stretching the lead beyond Hallab and the Indian did not break sweat in the last two rounds as he ambled to an easy win of 12-5.
In the pre-quarters Akhil, who trailed 3-6 in the third round, rained blows on the world No.1 and reduced the margin to 7-8 by the end of the round. The 27-year-old boxer from Bhiwani, northern state Haryana, showed great determination in getting back into the bout and in the last round held his nerve to tie on points.
After the fourth round, the boxers were locked 9-9, but the judges gave the bout to Akhil for landing more punches than the Russian. The decision shattered the reigning world champion in tears as Akhil did a celebratory jig in the ring at the Workers Gymnasium. The Indian is now just a bout away from an Olympic medal. He is likely to face Hector Manzanilla Rangel of Venezuela in the next round.
(With agency inputs)