Akhil Kumar, Neeraj Goyat win in style as Indians dominate undercard bouts
Olympians Jitender Kumar and Akhil Kumar got to a flying start in their professional boxing career on Saturday, defeating their opponents in just two rounds via technical knockouts at the National Sports Club of India here on Saturday. Although the crowd at the NSCI dome were waiting for the big fight between Vijender Singh and China’s Zulpikar Maimaitiali, there was considerable interest among fans for these two under card bouts.
Jitender was the first to enter the ring and the crowd, gradually growing in number, sprang to its feet. From Jo bole so nihal to Bharat Mata ki Jai, the audience ensured the 29-year-old was assured of a grand welcome. However, he could have perhaps done without it as well. The lightweight (61.2kg) bout lasted all but two rounds before the referee adjudged that Thanet Likhitkamporn, his opponent, wasn’t in a condition to carry on.
It was the same story for Arjuna award winner Akhil Kumar whose opponent Ty Gilchrist pointed to his abdomen before retiring. Akhil started the junior welterweight (63.5kg) clash on a defensive note, not rushing in, and contrary to his style, keeping his guard up. However, old habits die hard and before long Akhil had switched to his open stance, waiting for Gilchrist to have a go at him. He landed quite a few quick punches.
Akhil got a cut above his left eyebrow but that jonly charged him up. A few quick punches at the start of the second round gave him a boost while the writing was on the wall for his opponent. Still, none would have thought it would end in an anti-climax.
In the other fights too, Indians dominated in style with Asad Asif, Kuldeep Dhanda and Dharmendra Grewal all winning their respective bouts in the super bantamweight (55.3kg), lightweight (61.2kg) and cruiserweight (90.7kg) categories. Neeraj Goyat joined the list by beating Allan Tanada of Philippines by a unanimous decision in the WBC Asia-Pacific welterweight title bout.