Akhil, Jitender outpunch rivals, enter prequarters (Boxing, second lead)

August 12th, 2008 - 10:50 pm ICT by IANS  

By V. Krishnaswamy
Beijing, Aug 12 (IANS) Indian boxers Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar punched their opponents hard to notch up convincing wins and advance to the pre-quarterfinals in their respective events of the boxing competition at the Olympic Games here. Akhil Kumar registered a fine 12-5 win over former World Championship bronze medallist Frenchman Ali Hallab in the first round of the bantamweight category (54 kg). Jitender prevailed over Turkey’s Ulas Furkan Memis to move into the last 16 in the flyweight category (51 kg) at the Workers Gymnasium. Jitender was leading 12-3 when Memis retired in the third round.

Akhil went out all-attacking and dominated the bout without showing any defensive tactics. He rained punches on his opponent right from the word go. The Indian kept on running round the ring to exhaust the Frenchman and took a massive 8-3 lead after the second round and raced on to clinch the bout.

“He (Hallab) is a very good boxer and a former world bronze medallist. But I knew I could win against him. I was expecting a victory over him,” said Akhil.

Akhil who will be up against Russian Sergey Vodopyanov next said: “He (Sergey) is a world champion. It will be a tough fight, but I am here to win gold. No silver, no bronze, but only the gold. There is nothing like being Number 1 and I want to be Number 1.”

Indian coach Gurbaksh Singh was also pleased with Akhil’s performance. “He (Akhil) is a classy boxer, just look at his determination and thoughts. I am delighted at his victory.”

The 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Akhil had beaten 2004 Olympic silver medallist Worapoj Pitchkoom of Thailand in February to qualify for the Olympics. He was adjudged the best boxer at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers.

But this time around, Akhil’s work could be even tougher, as he runs into Vodopyanov, who is the defending world champion, having won the title in Chicago in 2007. Vodopyanov outboxed Puerto Rico’s McJoe Arroyo Acevedo 10-5 on points.

Earlier, in the day Jitender Kumar outclassed his Turkish opponent Ulas Furkan Memis in less than three rounds to storm into the flyweight pre-quarterfinals.

Jitender’s blows were too much for the Turk and the Indian opened up a huge 5-0 lead after the first round and by the second round he was up 9-2. South African referee Armando Carbonell had to stop the bout in the third round after Memis was totally exhausted.

“I was confident that I would win. It was the first time I was fighting him. We had the same height, but I was better on counter-attacks. My tactic is to remain cool. Whenever I am cool, I perform better,” Jitender said.

Jitender will meet 2004 Olympic quarter finalist Uzbek Tulashbioy Doniyorov in the next round. Doniyorov thrashed Bernard Ngumba Irungu of Kenya 10-1 on points.

“I had discussed with my senior mate, Akhil, about today’s fight before the bout. I will do that again before my next fight with Doniyorov. After the coaches, Akhil is my mentor. All I can say is that we Indian boxers want to win medals.”

Another boxer, Vijender Kumar (75 kg), has already advanced to the second round and will step in the ring Saturday.

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