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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Gaurav Bidhuri settles for bronze medal in World Boxing Championships

Gaurav Bidhuri lost 0-5 to Duke Ragan of the US to settle for bronze medal in the bantamweight category at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Hamburg on Thursday

other-sports Updated: Aug 31, 2017 23:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Gaurav Bidhuri in action against Duke Ragan of the US during their bantamweight semifinal bout at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Hamburg on Thursday.
Gaurav Bidhuri in action against Duke Ragan of the US during their bantamweight semifinal bout at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Hamburg on Thursday.(AIBA)

Gaurav Bidhuri completed his dream debut at the AIBA World Boxing Championships with a bronze in the bantamweight category (56kg), becoming the fourth Indian ever to win a medal at the global meet.

Bidhuri, who hails from Delhi, lost to another debutant, 19-year-old Duke Ragan of the US in the semifinals in Hamburg on Thursday, settling for bronze -- India’s only medal from this edition.

The 24-year-old Bidhuri, who has been struggling from a back injury for almost six months, was happy to return home with a medal, which came after a lot pain and struggle the last few months.

“I was determined to create history,” he said. “My coaches and teammates have been really helpful, they have seen the pain I am going through and have helped me in every step. I want to dedicate this medal to my dad,” he added.

Bidhuri entered the semifinals of the World Championships on Tuesday after defeating Tunisia’s Bilel Mhamdi via a split decision to ensure the medal, becoming the second boxer from India (after Vikas Krishan in the 2011 edition) to do so.

Besides Vikas, Vijender Singh (2009) and Shiva Thapa (2015) brought back medals (all bronze) from amateur boxing’s top competition.

Tactics, or lack of it

Both Bidhuri and his American opponent Ragan reached the semifinals after a couple of giant-killing efforts during the course of the championships. In fact, the Indian, with World Series Boxing experience under his belt, was, on paper at least, the more seasoned.

However, that experience didn’t translate to intelligent boxing in the ring as Bidhuri played right into Ragan’s strength.

The Indian opted to go forward with his overhead arching rights, even though it was clear that the Indian was falling for his Ragan’s bread-and-butter strikes -- lightning quick counter punches, including copybook jabs and straight rights.

By the second round, The US boxer had settled into a nice rhythm of counter punches, while the Indian, despite showing fighting spirit, failed as far as devising a strong strategy to counter the younger, yet more technically sound opponent. Bidhuri lost the bout 0-5, with all the five judges scoring 30-27 in Ragan’s favour.

Disappointing show for India

Overall, it has been a disappointing world championships for the Indian contingent.

Debutant Amit Phangal (49kg) and Kavinder Singh Bisht (52kg), the only other Indians who got close to a medal, missed out after losing in the quarterfinals. Phangal, the Asian Championships bronze-medallist, was outboxed by Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan, while Bisht lost to Inkyu Kim of South Korea.

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 23:10 IST