Akhil lands boxing gold for India

Akhil Kumar landed India its second ever Commonwealth Games boxing gold taking the total gold tally to 21.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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Akhil Kumar landed India its second ever Commonwealth Games boxing gold taking the total gold tally for India to 21. However, two other pugilists had to be satisfied with silver medals at the 18th Commonwealth Games. Kumar outpunched Louis Richard Bruno Julie of Mauritius 20-12 in the 54kg bantamweight final category, riding on an initial blitzkrieg when he opened up a big 6-0 lead. Akhil went all guns blazing as he landed left and right hooks and a punch to the Mauritian's head. Though Julie put up a valiant fight in the next three rounds, the initial deficit was too large for him to make up and the Indian's defences were too sound for him to breach. The bout in the second, third and fourth rounds were much closer as scores of 5-4, 6-4 and 3-4 would suggest but the Indian, who turns 25 in two days' time, always had a comfortable lead. The only previous Commonwealth Games boxing gold to come India's way was bagged by Mohammad Ali Qamar in the light-flyweight category at the previous edition in Manchester. However, the other two Indian pugilists on show at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre had to be content with silver medals as they went down in their championship bouts. Vijender lost to Bongani Mwelase of South Africa in the 69kg welterweight category 26-33 while Harpreet Singh found local favourite Bardley Michael Pitt too tough to handle in the 91kg heavyweight category and gave way 10-25. At the end of the boxing competition, India came out with a haul of one gold, two silvers and two bronze medals which put it in third place in the ring behind England and Australia. It is an improvement over their performance four years ago when they returned with a gold, a silver and a bronze. The result in the welterweight title bout was a repeat of the one at the Commonwealth boxing championship in Glasgow (Scotland) last year where Vijender failed to get past his South African opponent. (PTI)