Vikas Krishan Yadav

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 16 (IANS) India’s challenge in the boxing ring came to an end with Vikas Krishan Yadav going down 0-3 to Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals of the men’s Middleweight (75kg) category at the Rio Olympics here.

Vikas put up a strong challenge in the opening round before crashing out 27-30, 26-30, 26-30 against the silver medallist of the 2015 World Championships at the Riocentro Pavilion 6 on Monday.

Both boxers were a bit cagey in the opening exchanges with Uzbek using his height to land long range punches. The shorter Vikas was forced to keep his guard up and come into the Uzbek.

The tempo picked up as the first round wore on and an aggressive Vikas attempted to dominate the Uzbek with powerful body shots and jabs to the face.

The judges ruled 9-10, 9-10, 9-10 against Vikas after the opening round which seemed to affect his focus in the next two rounds.

Bektimir dominated the second round to take a 20-17 lead on all three judges cards. Vikas tried to be more aggressive in the third and final round, but the 20-year-old Uzbek held him off to take a well-deserved victory.

“I thought that on August 15 I would present a medal to my people in India but I could not do it,” Vikas lamented after his bout.

“Our boxing federation was banned so we could not go out to other countries to train with better boxers. But I am not blaming anyone. I lost because of me. I am sorry that I could not win,” the 24-year-old Haryana pugilist added.

Vikas asserted that he gave a better performance in the opening round, but the judges favoured the Uzbek which affected him mentally.

“After the first round, I felt that it should have been mine. We scored almost the same, but he was given the round. After that, I could not improve my play, although I also gave back as good as I got,” Vikas, who serves as a DSP in the Haryana Police, said.

“I always have a problem with a southpaw, whether it was in the last Olympic Games or in the qualifiers for Rio. I knew that he would play the second round very fast. There was a lot of difference in power strokes between the two of us,” he added.

“I did some practice against south paws, but in India, you hardly find such boxers. There are less than five per cent of them. I didn’t find any of my level.”

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