Vikas now only hope for India

New Delhi: Teen Asian Games gold-medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg) was the lone Indian boxer to assure the country of a medal at the Wold Championships, advancing to the semifinals after a thrilling win over Moldova`s Vasli Belous in Baku, Azerbaijan on Wednesday.

Vikas clinched the contest 9-8 with a calculated performance to set up a clash with Ukraine`s European Championship bronze-medallist Taras Shelestyuk, who stunned third seed Andrey Zamkovy of Russia on countback after both the boxers ended the regulation three rounds at 13-13.

Earlier, L Devendro Singh (49kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Jai Bhagwan (60kg) lost their respective quarterfinal bouts to bow out of the mega-event.

The 19-year-old Vikas, competing in the last bout of the day in his maiden World Championships, started aggressively, attacking his rival with jabs and right hooks in the opening round itself. But at the end of the round, the two boxers were locked 2-2.
The Indian, who had won gold in 60kg category in the Asian Games, was a tad more guarded in the second round and the calculated approach paid off as the ocassional punches he connected put him a point ahead of his rival at 5-4 overall. In the final round, both the boxers were aggressive but Vikas was more precise in his timing of punches which ultimately proved the clincher.

"It is all god`s grace and my parents` blessings that I have managed to come this far," an emotional Vikas told PTI from Baku. "I was very aggressive in the first round and thought I was up at the end of it but when the coaches told me that the score is level, I decided to be slightly defensive. Instead of attacking too much, I focussed on timing my punches and the strategy paid off," he said.