A terrible Day 9 for Indian athletes as they could not make the cut ahead in almost all the events scheduled earlier in the evening. India’s hopes of a medal continued to diminish with Manoj Kumar being the latest to lose in the pre-quarters of the 64kg light welterweight category to Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov by 0-3.
Former Commonwealth Games gold-medalist from Haryana put up a spirited show but was nowhere close to the fifth seeded Gaibnazarov from Uzbekistan in his pre-quarterfinal bout leaving India’s boxing medal hopes hanging down to just Vikas Krishnan.
The 25-year-old Gaibnazarov, the World and Asian Championships silver-medallist was consistently better than Manoj in all three bouts.
In the opening round, Manoj strategically dodged his opponent depriving the Uzbek of any clear shot. Keeping the opponent at a distance was not enough as Gaibnazarov came in with a couple of left jabs in the closing seconds.
The second round continued with Gaibnazarov relying on his strong left as he clearly read the Indian’s strategy. Manoj could not use his height and reach advantage to the fullest and was clearly shaken by a vicious blow to his torso by Gaibnazarov’s powerful left hand.
Manoj came back stronger in the final round getting full marks there for his aggression and never-say-die spirit. However he could not match up with the Uzbek’s tremendous footwork and balance while back-peddling.
With Manoj and Shiva Thapa (56kg), who lost in the opening round, ousted from contention, India’s boxing campaign now comprises only Vikas Krishan (75kg).
Vikas is scheduled to fight his quarterfinal bout on Monday.