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21st President Cup Boxing Tournament: Santosh Kumar in Final

V Santhosh Kumar: Flying High

Asian Games silver medallist V Santosh Kumar (64kg) boxed his way into the finals of the 21st President’s Cup International Boxing Tournament in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday while Lakhbir Singh (69kg) continued to pulverise his opponents as he made way to the last four of his weight category with another comprehensive victory in the second phase of bouts on Wednesday.

Playing his first international competition since the silver medal winning performance at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, V Santosh Kumar was up against Masatsugu Kawachi of Japan in the semi-finals of the Men’s light welter weight division. The 19 year old had notched up a splendid victory over local lad Ardan Bachtila in the quarters. He started well in the opening round of the semis, taking a slender one point in lead after the opening three minutes of play (2:1). He soon made it a two point game after the second (5:3). In the third though Kawachi matched Santosh punch for punch, but the reigning national champion held on to advance to last stage with a 12:9 victory on points. In the summit clash Santosh will lock horns with Malinin Alexander of Russia.

However, in the light fly weight category, 18-year-old Gaurav Bidhuri had to settle for a bronze medal after losing to Ian Clark Bautista of Philipines, the youngest member of the Philippine team. The 16 year old who defeated 2010 European Cup champion Alexander Somoilov of Russia, proved to be too much for Bidhuri as he lost the semi-final bout 5:12.

The Indian contingent had mixed results in the evening session of play on Wednesday as well. In the welter weight category, Lakhbir Singh delivered another power packed performance after trouncing Truong Dinh Hong of Vietnam with a knockout punch in the quarter-final bout. Up against Lee Dong Keun of Korea, the 23 year old continued his aggressive style of play. The Korean boxers didn’t seem to have any answer to the Indian onslaught. Lakhbir was leading 27:9 in the third round when Keun retired with an injury handing him the victory and a semi-final spot. He will now take on Kunkov Alexander of Russia in the next round.

The quarter-final bout in the men’s fly weight division saw Santosh Harijan take on Katsuaki Susa of Japan. Harijan though seemed to be out of sorts and could not keep up with the agility of the Japanese boxer. In the end he lost the bout 16:20 on points.

The evening session of play on Thursday will feature Jasveer Singh against Australian Damien Hooper, the Commonwealth Games quarterfinalist in the middleweight division.

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