Akhil Kumar has shifted from amateur to professional boxing.(HT Photo)
Akhil Kumar has shifted from amateur to professional boxing.(HT Photo)

Akhil Kumar makes another comeback to forget 2008 Olympics disappointment

Akhil Kumar won a gold medal in boxing at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne but failed to repeat the performance at the Olympics.
By Saurabh Duggal | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON JUL 29, 2017 06:17 PM IST

It’s been nine years since the Beijing Olympics, but the quarterfinal exit still haunts boxer Akhil Kumar.

The frustration of missing out on a medal at the 2008 Games and the desire for more name and fame has motivated the 36-year-old pugilist to make a comeback in the international arena for the third time. He will be facing Australian boxer TY Gilchrist in his professional boxing debut in Mumbai on August 5.

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“When I went to Athens (2004), participation was the primary objective. But I was very confident of a podium finish in Beijing as I had trained hard for it. I went there eyeing the gold medal. When I defeated the French boxer, who was the 2005 world champion, then beat the reigning world champion and the world No. 1 Russian boxer in the first two bouts, everybody, including me, thought that the medal was within my reach. But things went absolutely unexpected in the quarterfinals and I lost everything. It’s been a month short of nine years, but I am unable to forget the Beijing nightmare and even today the memories are fresh in my mind,” recalls Akhil, who is a Deputy Superintended of Police in Haryana and has taken a one-year leave without salary to pursue his professional boxing dreams.

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“I know because of my age, things wouldn’t be easy for me in professional circuit and I have to really work hard to leave a mark there. But fighting the age is easy for me than living with the Beijing memories. Nothing can compensate the Olympic medal, but I hope some wins in the pro circuit will help ease off the agony of losing the most important fight of my boxing career,” adds Akhil, who is currently training in Gurgaon.

Struggling with injuries

After the 2010 Commonwealth Games, a string of injuries forced him to stay away from the sport for long intervals. He made his first comeback during the World Series Boxing in 2011. But injury again forced him to stay away from the competitive arena. He made his second comeback at the 2014 Asian Games but there he lost in the pre-quarterfinals. Now again, after three years, he is staging a comeback.

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“For the last few years, I was struggling with injuries. But now things are under control. Now I am using a lot of scientific methods, including support from physiotherapist, during my training. And if everything goes well, I will make a name in the pro circuit for sure,” says Akhil, who is famous for his open guard stance.

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