India’s Manoj Kumar crashed out of the London Olympics under dubious circumstances. India’s Manoj Kumar took on Britain’s Thomas Stalker in Men’s Light Welter (64kg) category and lost to the captain of the British boxing team by 20-16 points.
Thomas Stalker came out firing in the first round leaving Manoj Kumar grasping for straws. The British captain delivered good 1-2 combinations on the Indian to take the early initiative. Kumar however, took some time to recover. Once he found his footing, he threw back a good left jab to unsettle Stalker. Kumar stuck to the middle of the ring and fought toe to toe against his much experienced opponent. Stalker defended well and capitalised on the first two minutes to race to a lead of 7-4.
The second round saw Kumar coming out with more intent. The Indian boxer set the tempo and attacked the British captain. Both boxers matched each other punch to punch but Kumar looked like the man in charge. He kept on pushing Stalker but the British used his experience to sway away. Stalker looked particularly in trouble with Manoj’s left hand and Kumar used it well to unsettle him. The round was surprisingly handed to Stalker 9-5 leaving Kumar too much to do in the final round.
In the final round Kumar was at his attacking best and thrashed Stalker from the very first minute. The British looked out of steam and went in a defensive mode making it easier for Kumar. Kumar got inside of Stalker and delivered body punches with immense power. Stalker tried to stage a recovery in the final 30 secs but the Indian proved too strong to take the round by 7-4 points.
Thomas Stalker was handed the match with an over all 20-16 points which left the supporters and the commentators in surprise. The second round, which was dominated by Kumar, made the difference as the judges handed it over to the British.
In his previous bout, the Indian boxer showed his class as he won his round of 32 bout against Serdar Hudayberdiyev of Turkmenistan in Men’s Light Welter (64kg) category. Manoj Kumar won comprehensively as he raced to a 13 – 7 victory over his opponent from Turkmenistan. Stalker, on the other hand, got a bye in the first round.