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Akhil loses, Jai Bhagwan scores at World boxing

Last updated on: September 03, 2009 21:05 IST
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A recurring wrist injury marred Olympian Akhil Kumar's featherweight debut as he lost to Dominican Republic's Roberto Navarro Gonzalez. However, Jai Bhagwan brought some cheer to the Indian camp by winning his lightweight opener in World Boxing Championships in Milan, Italy, on Thursday.

The seventh seeded Akhil went down 2-16 and became the fourth Indian to make a first-round exit from the mega-event.

However, late Wednesday night, Asian silver medallist Jai Bhagwan outpunched Venezuela's Angel Rodrigues 10-4 to bring cheer to the Indian camp.

Akhil, who had not competed in an international event since the World Cup in December, found himself on the backfoot in the first round, and trailed 1-4.

"I ended up hurting my right wrist in the first few seconds of the bout and the pain was too much to bear thereafter. I just couldn't land a punch after that," Akhil said.

"I would consult my physio Heath Matthews from the Mittal Champions Trust to know the extent of damage but, hopefully, it's not too much and I will recover quickly," added the 27-year-old, who had surgery for the injury last year.

Akhil could score just one more point against his opponent's 12 in the remaining two rounds to bow out.

"A long hook that he landed in the first round hurt him so badly that he couldn't move his arm," said national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu.

But Jai's win on Wednesday night helped lift the spirits in the Indian camp. The Haryana-boxer opened a 3-1 lead in the first round before blanking his opponent in the second to extend it to 7-1.

Rodrigues tried to claw his way back in the final round, finishing 3-3, but the effort proved too little too late.

"I just read his game in the first round and went on the offensive in the next two rounds. It all turned out to be pretty easy in the end," Jai said.

Sandhu said Jai mixed aggression with caution to outwit his opponent.

"He applied his mind in the ring. Instead of being too aggressive, he fought from a distance and didn't allow his opponent to get too close. The other guy was short in height and that also worked to Jai's advantage," Sandhu said.

Jai will take on the Irish team's co-captain Eric Donovan in the second round on Friday.

Donovan defeated Bakhodir Karimov of Kirgyzstan 13-4 in his championship opener.

"I lost to him by a point in the European Grand Prix event in Czech Republic in May. But this time, I am confident about beating him," Jai said.

Earlier, three Indians - Asian champion Suranjoy Singh (51kg), Jitender Kumar (54kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) – exited the event after losing their opening-round bouts.

While Suranjoy and Manoj lost by a point, Jitender was disqualified after being handed three warnings for three different offences.

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