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Akhil Kumar crashes out in quarters
Published on 19 Aug. 2008 1:43 AM IST
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India’s top pugilist Akhil Kumar failed to penetrate the solid defences of his Moldovan opponent Gojan Veaceslav and crashed out in the quarterfinal of 54kg category in Beijing Olympic Games on Monday, dashing India’s medal hopes. Akhil, who was one win away from ensuring India’s first Olympic medal in boxing, went into all out offensive unleashing a flurry of punches right from the word go but ran into the nearly impeccable defence and lost the bout 3-10 against the unheralded Moldovan. The bantamweight Moldovan boxer never lowered his guard and earned all his points through stray counterattacks, coming out of his defensive shell. After the first two rounds saw the two boxers tied at 2-2, Veaceslav surged into a decisive lead of 6-2 by landing all his punches bang on target. On the other hand, Akhil could only manage to reduce the margin of loss by scoring just one more point in the fourth and final round but it was too little and too late for the Indian. Having beaten the World Champion Sergey Vodopyanov of Russia to reach the quarterfinals, Akhil surprisingly just did not have any answer to the Moldovan’s strategy of all-out defence punctuated by counter-aggression. With Akhil out of the competition, India’s medal hopes rest on flyweight boxer Jitender Kumar and Vijender in featherweight when they walk in the ring on Wednesday to appear in their quarterfinal bouts.

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