Hyderabad: The badly bruised Satish Kumar (+91kg) may have lost but he won the hearts in his super-heavy quarterfinal bout against reigning world champion Bakhodir Jalolov in the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday. Satish, who was injured during his previous bout against Jamaican Ricardo Brown, was doubtful till the morning of the bout.
After being cleared and braving the pain, Satish took the ring. He even lasted three rounds. Although the score-line of 5-0 may have gone in favour of the supremely fit Uzbek pugilist, Satish put up a plucky display before bowing out of the Olympics.
Jalolov, who has speed and guile, is a world class pugilist. He is also technically very sound. The Uzbek pugilists usually adopt the Russian style of boxing. They are good in defence and at the same time they are very accurate in their punches. He was physically stronger and fitter than Satish. But Satish was the biggest winner for India in this Olympics. I have always have a high opinion of this pugilist.
Braving all odds on Sunday, Satish was game on against his opponent. He did connect a few lusty blows on Uzbek. According to the Indian camp, Satish required 13 stitches above his righ eye. It is very painful and the vision becomes blur but that did not stop the gutsy Indian pugilist to wage a grim battle. He fought till the end before a solid punch from Jalolov in the last few seconds opened up his wound and it required some medical attention. It was good to see Jalolov appreciating the Indian pugilist after the completion of the bout.
For India, it was curtains for the men’s team. Much was expected but the Indian challenge ended tamely as Vikas Krishan (69kg), and the debutant duo of Manish Kaushik (63kg) and Ashish Chaudhary (75kg) bowed out from the first round. It was disappointing to see World number one Amit Panghal (52kg) losing badly against Rio Games silver-medallist Yuberjen Martinez of Colombia on Saturday.
Young Lovlina Borgohain gave something to cheer about when she assured India of a medal in the boxing event by entering into the 69kg semifinals. However, six-time world champion M C Mary Kom (51kg), two-time Asian champion Pooja Rani (75kg) and world bronze-winner Simranjit Kaur (60kg) faded away in the preliminary stages of the event.
(V Devarajan is a former boxer, participated in 1992 Barcelona Games)
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