India duo promise record boxing medal haul
India's two boxers at the Olympics both won through to the second round on Tuesday to keep alive hopes of a record Games medal haul.india Updated: Aug 01, 2012 07:57 IST
India's two boxers at the Olympics both won through to the second round on Tuesday to keep alive hopes of a record Games medal haul.
Commonwealth Games light welterweight champion Manoj Kumar beat Turkmenistan's Serdar Hudayberdiyev (13-7) while light flyweight Devendro Laishram became only the second boxer at the Games to win inside the distance.
Laishram pummelled Honduran Bayron Molina into submission 36 seconds before the end of the first round.
Kumar will have the chance of revenge in his next bout against British third seed Tom Stalker, who beat him in last year's world championship quarter-finals.
"I am a better fighter than I was last year," said the 25-year-old Kumar.
"Stalker is a good fighter but I believe I can turn the tables.
"All in all I think India will win more than the one medal we won four years ago in Beijing," he added, referring to Vijender Singh's historic middleweight bronze.
Laishram admitted it was hard to draw too many conclusions from his bout.
"He wasn't a good boxer, I knew that, I'd sized him up so the coming rounds are going to get more difficult," said the 20-year-old soldier, who next faces fourth seeded Mongolian Serdamba Purevdorj.
"I can win a medal," added Laishram, a genuine contender after reaching the world championship quarter-finals last year.
The Cubans also saw two of their fighters progress to the second round.
Yosbany Veitia and Roniel Iglesias both impressed, suggesting the amateur boxing powerhouse could well banish memories of the 2008 Olympic Games.
Cuba took eight medals in Beijing but none of them were gold.
However, Veitia and Iglesias looked like they could set the record straight as they overwhelmed Australian Billy Ward and Cesar Villarraga of Colombia in the light flyweight and light welterweight categories respectively.
But both Veitia and Iglesias will now fight the top seeds in their respective divisions, China's outstanding defending light flyweight champion Zou Shiming and Brazilian Everton dos Santos.
However, Veitia was upbeat after overwhelming a gutsy but outclassed Ward.
"Everything went as planned, it was too good to be true. I am ready to compete strongly for a medal. It is my first Games and I am confident in myself," said the 20-year-old Pan American Games silver medalist.
The United Statesa, seeking only their second boxing gold medal since the 1996 Games, team captain Jamel Herring well beaten by impressive Kazakh Daniyar Yeleussinov.
Herring, a US Marine sergeant who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was not too depressed about the 19-9 thrashing he endured.
"To the people here and to those back home I am still a hero and still a champion," said the 26-year-old.
Yeleussinov, the Asian Games champion two years ago, said he was feeling extremely confident despite not having been seeded.
"I'm in good form, in good physical shape and got a great team behind me. There is no reason why I can't go the whole way," said the 21-year-old.
He was the second Kazakh to win through on Tuesday but his compatriot Birzhan Zhakypov's victory was greeted with jeers and boos and left defeated French opponent Jeremy Beccu in tears.
"I knew I had to fight against the judges also alas," said Beccu, who stood in the middle of the ring with his hands on his hips after the decision.
"It's really unfair, I should have won. Nobody can convince me otherwise."
First Published: Aug 01, 2012 07:55 IST