A badly bruised Satish Kumar (+91kg) put up a gutsy performance against reigning world champion Bakhodir Jalolov but it was not enough to upstage the rampaging Uzbek as the Indian boxer made a quarterfinal exit from the Olympic Games here on Sunday.
Taking the ring with multiple stitches on his forehead and chin after sustaining cuts in the pre-quarters, Satish lost 0-5 but the scoreline was not reflective of his brave performance.
Satish, a two-time Asian Games bronze-winner and multiple-time national champion, had scripted history by just qualifying for the Games as he was the first super heavyweight from India to achieve the feat.
“He is a bit low right now but when he settles down, he will realise how big it was for him to fight it out with those cuts,” Indian Boxing’s High Performance Director Santiago Nieva told,
“The fight he gave despite the blows is praiseworthy. Every punch that Jalolov connected added to his pain, he was feeling it all through. The Uzbek boxer is a special talent,” he said.
The 32-year-old Army man stood his ground in the biggest bout of his career, occasionally managed to land a shot with his right hand but Jalolov dominated the proceedings all through, relying on his imposing demeanour and excellent counter-attacking game to sail through.
What stood out about the Commonwealth Games silver-winner was his resolve to fight it out.
The former kabaddi player from Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr did not hesitate to launch attacks despite the risk of his cuts opening up.
Satish’s forehead cut did open up eventually during the third round but he fought through even with that.
“Satish was seriously injured with 13 stitches above his eye and on his chin. That he still decided to fight against the No. 1 boxer shows his courage and patriotism.
“Not many will take blows for their country like Satish did today. We are very proud of him,” Boxing Federation of India President Ajay Singh said.
Jalolov, a 27-year-old footballer-turned-boxer, also acknowledged his rival’s bravery at the end of the bout by nodding in appreciation towards him after securing his maiden Olympic Games medal.
Jalolov is also a three-time Asian champion, all those gold medals coming in succession to him since 2017.
With this the Indian men’s boxing campaign came to an end in the Games.
Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) remains the lone pugilist in fray after having made the semifinals to secure India’s first and only boxing medal of the ongoing edition.
On Saturday, it was a major disappointment for India when world number one Amit Panghal (52kg) bowed out of the event following a 1-4 loss to Rio Games silver-medallist Yuberjen Martinez of Colombia.
An injured Vikas Krishan (69kg), and the debutant duo of Manish Kaushik (63kg) and Ashish Chaudhary (75kg) had earlier bowed out following opening-round losses.
In the women’s competition, six-time world champion M C Mary Kom (51kg), two-time Asian champion Pooja Rani (75kg) and world bronze-winner Simranjit Kaur (60kg) had lost in the preliminary stage.