This was the first time at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers that Vikas Krishan didn’t win his bout through a unanimous decision.
Vikas Krishan upstaged Kazakhstan’s Ablaikhan Zhussupov to reach the final of the welterweight category at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers in Amman, Jordan. This was also India’s first win on Tuesday after heavyweights Amit Panghal and Lovlina Borgohain bowed out earlier in the day.
Sachin Kumar kept his chance of sealing a berth at the 2020 Olympics open in the light heavyweight (75-81kg) category by winning his first box-off against Vietnam’s Nguyen Manh Cuong in the last bout of the morning session.
Vikas Krishan’s win over second-seeded Ablaikhan Zhussupov came via a 3-2 split decision in the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers semi-final.
The Indian boxer approached the bout at the back of smooth wins against Japan’s Sewonrets Quincy Mensah Okazawa and Kyrgyzstan’s Nursultan Mamataly in the previous two rounds, which had sealed his 2020 Olympics berth. But, Zhussupov was a different challenge altogether.
Vikas Krishan started the bout with both his guards up against the aggressive Kazakh, blocking most of his punches. Although the Indian boxer was keeping his share of punches clean, it was an opportune combo of double jab that tilted the judgement in the Indian’s favour as he won the first round 4-1.
The precarious moment of the bout, however, came in the second round. After starting the round with yet another jab at Ablaikhan's chin, an accidental clash of heads saw Vikas Krishan bleeding from beneath his left eyebrow as the bout was intervened.
Though the injury threw the 28-year-old Indian boxer off gear for a few seconds, he came back to end the second round with a right-hand upper jab at Ablaikhan's face that helped Vikas Krishan to squeeze past the second round 3-2.
Seeing off the final round was just a matter of time although the pro-turned-amateur boxer managed a pristine left hook and then a right uppercut on the Kazakh’s chin that took the outcome beyond doubt.
Though Ablaikhan managed to throw the Indian at the ropes and released a flurry of punches towards the end, Krishan's defence remained rock solid as he won the bout 3-2.
"It was a good fight and I wasn’t prepared for that as my main aim was Olympic qualification, which I’ve achieved. So, I was taking the fight easy but when the coaches said that you have to win the last round, I know I’m a professional and I had to win the last round," Vikas Krishan told Olympic Channel after his bout.
Sachin Kumar was seen taking a different approach in his box-off against Vietnam’s Nguyen Manh Cuong after the Indian was beaten by China's Chen Daxaing in the quarter-finals of the light heavyweight (75-81kg) category.
The 22-year-old Indian boxer was more static than his normal busy self during bouts, but this helped him get more punches on Nguyen, who is the reigning four-time national champion of Vietnam.
Sachin Kumar drew the first blood with a clean left jab and from thereon used his backhand to good effect throughout the bout.
A key moment of the first bout came when a slap and a right hook by Sachin Kumar on Nguyen saw the referee issuing a standing count on the Vietnamese. Though Sachin Kumar was issued a standing count of his own for taking a right jab to his chin, he won the first-round 4-1 with conviction.
It was in the second round that Sachin Kumar took the bout away from his opponent. The Indian’s masterful defence was at display when after landing a flurry of punches he managed to duck a three-jab combo of the Vietnamese, before landing another backhand jab of his own.
Sachin Kumar ended the second round with a good right hook to counter an attack as he was adjudged the winner unanimously.
The third round was about holding on to the lead and although Nguyen made a strong case for himself with a clean uppercut early on, Sachin Kumar stuck to his plan as his occasional hooks fetched him a 4-1 win in the end.
Vikas Krishan will next be facing fourth-seeded Zeyad Eishaih Hussein Eashash in the final of the welterweight (63-69kg) category after the Jordan boxer defeated top seed Bobo-Usmon Baturov of Uzbekistan in a remarkable semi-final bout.
Sachin Kumar will be facing Negmatulloev Shabbos of Tajikistan next in the box-off final on March 11.
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