Beijing, Aug 22 (UNI) Vijender Kumar's hope of an Olympic gold lay in tatters in the ring of the Workers Gymnasium as he lost to his Cuban rival Emilio Correa Bayeaux 5-8 in a tactical 75kg semi-final bout of the Boxing competition here today.
Vijender will now have to be content with a bronze and though he deserved better but still he has the distinction of being the first Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal.
Emilio emerged a better boxer though the Indian fought well but lacked tactics. The Cuban fought to a plan and Vijender could not read his combination of straight punches and jabs.
The taller Indian also failed to take advantage of his height as Emilio came out with solid defence and used his left hooks with lethal effect.
Emilio sorted out his Indian rival within 45 seconds of the bout as he, with his left hook, took the first point and then 20 seconds later another straight punch earned him the second point.
The Cuban took his third point as the second round started but the Haryana boxer fought well and with a clever punch took the point to make it 1-3.
Emilio struck back with another straighter (4-1) but full credit to Vijender who unleashed a flurry of punches to earn two quick points to reduce the gap to (3-4) However, Cuban came down heavily in the third round and surprisingly the Indian had to plan to counter the unexpected aggression from his rival.
Emilio took full advantage of his left hooks and punches which Vijender was not able to defend, in fact the Indian was expecting that Cuban will be using his right arm for most of the punches but Cuban came out with different tactics and strategy which left his rival vulnerable.
The Cuban grafted three points in this round to take a decisive 7-3 lead as the Indian looked resigned to his defeat.
Emilio punched one more point at the start of the fourth and last round (8-3) but midway through the Indian earned two unexpected penalty points (5-8) which raised some false hopes but the Cuban did not let his guard down for the next 35 seconds and Vijender's desperate attempts to earn points turned out to be futile.
Emilio had a lesson for his slighly taller rival, stick to the basics, don't let your guard down and conserve energy to utilise it in a better way.
The Cuban was not an attractive fighter but was certainly a superior tactical boxer who had the final say in this keen contest.
Vijender fought well but it was not his day.
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