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Vikas goes down fighting, settles for silver in Asian C’ships

Vikas Krishan

Bangkok: Indian boxer Vikas Krishan (75kg) fought his heart out but still fell short as he settled for the silver medal after going down to Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev in a brutal summit clash of the Asian Championships here today.

The 23-year-old Indian lost 0-2 to the reigning Youth Olympic champion in a gruelling fight that left both the boxers with several bruises on their faces.

With Vikas’ silver, India finished their campaign with one silver and three bronze medals — L Devendro Singh (49kg),Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) being the third-place finishers. Besides, six Indians also made the cut for next month’s World Championships — the first qualifying event for the Olympics next year.

“I am extremely happy with the performance because six boxers have made the World Championships cut but a gold medal would have been even better. Vikas performed exceptionally well and it’s quite disappointing that he could not win,” national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI.

In today’s bout, the two boxers went in with sharply contrasting strategies in the opening round. While Melikuziev was fearless and moved around fluently threatening to attack every moment, Vikas was defensive and had himself covered in a shell guard.

Melikuziev’s approach found favour with the judges as he took the opening round unanimously, using a combination of right hooks and jabs to do the scoring.

Vikas went on the offensive in the second round but the fist-speed of Melikuziev was something that the Indian struggled to keep pace with.

However, due to Vikas’ aggressive approach, the 19-year-old Uzbek could not connect as many scoring punches as he managed in the first three minutes. The second round was eventually awarded to the former World Championships bronze-medallist from India on a split decision. But it did not count for much as a point was deducted from his account owing to a rather harsh warning for bending.

In the final round, Vikas continued his offensive approach but Melikuziev also threw caution to the wind and the two boxers exchanged a flurry of punches. The final three minutes were fought on an even keel but Melikuziev got the judges’ nod in the final analysis.

“To my mind, he dominated two rounds but that’s how it is in sports. You win some, you lose some,” Sandhu said.

Overall, compared to the previous edition in 2013, India’s medal count did not dip but the country failed to win a single gold medal this time.

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