After Akhil, Jitender in Olympic boxing quarters

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Beijing, Aug 16: Displaying awesome agility and fire power Jitender Kumar pulverised Uzbekistan's Tulashboy Doniyoroy 13-6 to storm into the quarter finals of the 51 kg (fly) event of the Olympic Boxing competition here today.

The unassuming pugilist from Bhawani (Haryana) outpointed Doniyorov, a fifth placer in the Athens Olympics, to stay in contention for the medal. Inspired by his mentor and guide, Akhil's performance against World Champion yesterday, Jitender fought like a boxer possessed and never allowed his rival to dominate him.

The 20-year-old Jitender Kumar dominated the ring and boxed to a plan. ''This is the first time I was fighting with Doniyorov and I was confident of beating him, because I had beaten three boxer who all had beaten him,'' a jubilant Indian told mediapersons after his victory.

Having beaten a south paw boxer in his first round, the Indian midified his tactics slightly against the Uzbek, who was also a south paw.

Jitender played close and long range, while the Uzbek tried hard to corner the Indian but failed and in the first round itself the sign of things to come were clear as the Bhiwani boy led 4-1.

Jitender slowed down the pace in the second round and that confused his rival who could not fathom the Indian's tactic and ploy.

''We had a plan, we knew what happened yesterday, Akhil was trailing 2-6 but he successfully managed to stage a come back, we did not want that Uzbek should repeat that against Jitender, hence this ploy to slow down was used,'' chief coach G S Sandhu explained later.

The second round saw Jitender garnering one point to take his lead to 5-1 and that set a panic in Uzbek camp.

And in the third round points - 9 of them - came thick and fast with Jitender collecting six and his rival three. Again Indian planning was to the fore. Jitender got the point and then stayed back to avoid the punches and he came up with powerful counters which rattled the Uzbek.

Jitender also managed to get two penalty points in this round and virtually sealed his victory as he led 11-4 after the penultimate round.

The Uzbek tried to engage Jitender in the medium range confrontation which was later avoided successfully.

And that was the turning point because it frustrated Doniyorov no end and every punch of his landed at no point zone.

Though in the last round Uzbek managed to protect himself from Indian's right hits and left hooks but his defence fetched in only two points while he conceded the same to his rival and Jitender emerged dominating winner 13-6.

The two points which Uzbek earned in the last round were penalty points as Jitender kept on avoiding contact and slipped which in jury's opinion was a deliberate ploy to avoid contact.

''Jitender is much better than what you saw today,'' commented coach B I Fernandez. Chief coach G S Sandhu was thrilled with this performance. ''It was bout with brains. We had planned out everything and Jitender boxed according to the plot,'' Fernandez asserted.

''He went for clean and straight punches which got recorded in the computer,'' the coach said about Jitender.

''It is not as if the Uzbek was not a good boxer but Jitu was better. And once again, the rival could not comprehend our strategy.

They still are under impression that Indians fight while standing and not moving their feet,'' he said.

''I think Uzbek was surprised by Jitender's agility, who used his footwork effectively,'' Sandhu quipped.

Jitender, however, attributed his win to Akhil. ''He (Akhil) is everything to me, my friend, my guide, my father, mother, brother, everything. I owe every thing to him,'' Jitender stated.

''Akhil kept encouraging me from the stand. I was looking at him and his directions. He was signaling me when to be aggressive and when to back pedal,'' he said.

''Last night we kept planning about this bout, I did not sleep and also did not allow Akhil to sleep'' he said, while explaining how he prepared for the bout.

The Haryana born pugilist said coach Sandhu kept him informed (with signs) the points. ''I sorted out my rival in the first round itself and knew that I will beat him.'' About his next bout with Russian Georgy Balakshin, Jitender said, ''I have lost one bout to him, but I am confident of beating him this time. I want to win a medal here and if I win it, the medal will be for Akhil.''

UNI

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