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AIBA World men’s boxing championships | Akash on song, assures first medal for India

A breeze: Akash Kumar’s, right, punches were simply outstanding as he outplayed Rivas.  

Debutant Akash Kumar (54kg) secured India’s first medal at the ongoing AIBA World men’s boxing championships here on Tuesday after advancing to the semifinals with a superb victory over former Olympic silver-medallist Yoel Finol Rivas of Venezuela.

The 21-year-old Akash prevailed 5-0 in a fabulous performance during which his punching and showmanship were outstanding.

He scored on counter-attacks with a non-existent guard and taunted his opponent, all this while staying out of his range with terrific pace and footwork. “My strategy was to attack right from the start, I won the first round with that and in the second, I had to protect my cut as well while going forward, which I managed to do,” Akash said.

The Services boxer, a product of Army Sports Institute in Pune, lost his mother to a lung infection in September and competed in the Nationals unaware of the tragedy.

“I dedicate this medal to my late mother and father and my coaches. I competed in such a big tournament for the first time in my life and I feel so proud to have done well,” Akash added.

High Performance Director Santiago Nieva said: “His performance has earned him a lot of respect from his opponents. For a debutant, he showed tremendous confidence against boxers who were far more experienced.”

Akash is also assured of a prize money of at least $25,000. He will be up against 19-year-old Makhmud Sabyrkhan of Kazakhstan, a three-time Asian gold-medallist at the youth level.

Rivas had won a bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics but his medal was upgraded to silver after the second place finisher failed a dope test.Narender Berwal (+92kg) bowed out, losing 5-0 to Azerbaijan’s Mahammad Abdullayev.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 5:02:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/aiba-world-mens-boxing-championships-akash-on-song-assures-first-medal-for-india/article37312020.ece

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