Akhil Kumar is a man of his words. Before leaving for Moscow, he had said he wouldn't let the opportunity slip out of his hands. The Haryana pugilist assured India a medal on the opening day of the first AIBA World Cup on Wednesday. The Bhiwani boxer trounced Germany's Schneider Marcel 15-6 in a pool of eight boxers to make it to the semifinals. This win assured him of at least a bronze.
"Right from the start of the first round, I took the lead and kept stretching it," Akhil told HT from Moscow. "I had never faced the German before, nor had I seen him in action. So, we were both new to each other and eventually I got the better of him."
When asked if he had altered his 'open guard' style, he replied, "I played my original style. Why should I change it? Open guard is my strength and today also I won the bout because of it. But the only changes I made were in my footwork and body moment. Today, I relied heavily on sideways moments," he said.
Akhil now faces Beijing Olympic Games silver-medallist Leon Alarcon Yankiel (Cuba) in the semifinal on Dec 13. The Cuban boxer defeated Ikgopoleng Khumiso (Botswana) 7-0 with his closely guarded defence. So will it be difficult to breach the Cuban's defence? "I am not going to spare anybody. Beijing is past and now my entire focus is on the World Cup. I am not going to disappoint my supporters on Friday," said Akhil.