Former Asian Games gold-medallist Vikas Krishan (75kg) took a pounding from second seed Bektemir Melikuziev in the quarterfinals to bow out of the Olympic Games here, ending India’s boxing challenge without a medal for the first time in eight years.
With Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) already out of contention, Vikas’ loss on Mondaydrew the curtains on the Indian boxing challenge in the Games.
In fact, it is the second successive time that the male boxers failed to secure a medal given that the 2012 bronze had come through M C Mary Kom (51kg). Vijender Singh (75kg) thus remains the first and only Indian male boxer to have secured an Olympic medal (a bronze in 2008 Beijing Games).
In the quarterfinal contest Sunday night, the seventh-seeded Vikas was simply no match for the world No.3, a World Championships silver-medallist and the reigning Asian champion, a title he won after beating Vikas in the final in 2015.
The overtly cautious Indian hesitated in opening an attack for most part of the first round while Melikuziev scored at will with his lethal left hand.
The second round was even worse for the Indian as Melikuziev gained firm control of the bout, also using his right jab to good effect.
In fact, one such blow led to Vikas spitting his gum-shield out and even before he could recover, a left hook from Melikuziev had left him dazed.
Such was the power and precision of Melikuziev’s hitting, that two of the judges ruled 10-8 in his favour in the second round.
Vikas, a former World Championships bronze-medallist, completely lost the plot in the final three minutes, struggling to keep his balance after the pounding he took in the first two rounds.
In the end it was a stroll for the 20-year-old Melikuziev, who was hitting at will against a near stationary Vikas.