Deepak Bhoria (51kg), Hussamuddin (57kg) and Nishant Dev (71kg) created history on Wednesday as they assured at least a bronze medal each by reaching the semi-finals in their respective categories at the ongoing IBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Indian men’s boxers have secured three medals in one edition for the first time in the history of the World Boxing Championships. Earlier, the best performance of the Indian men’s boxers was recorded in 2019 when Manish Kaushik and Amit Panghal clinched medals for the country.
In the first quarter-final bout of the day, Deepak defeated Diushebaev Nurzhigit of Kyrgyzstan by a 5-0 unanimous decision to storm into semis.
The Indian pugilist dominated the match from the beginning and used his quick movement and ring intelligence to win the first round. Deepak was at his best in the second round as well as he dodged his opponent’s attack proficiently and stayed ahead in the match.
The third round saw Deepak playing smartly and negating the heavy attacks of Nurzhigit. The strategy worked for the Indian boxer as he comfortably won the bout. He will now face B. Bennama of France in the semi-finals on Friday.
Meanwhile, Hussamuddin beat J. Diaz Ibanez of Bulgaria by a 4-3 split decision to confirm another medal for India at the ongoing tournament.
It was a neck-and-neck battle between both the boxers from the get-go as Hussamuddin took some time to gauge Ibanez’s movements. The Southpaw used his speed and movement to defend and land some heavy blows on his opponent while counter-punching.
The second round was rather comfortable for the Indian pugilist as he quickly judged his rival’s attacks and hit heavy punches. The third round saw both the boxers throw caution to the wind and go on the offensive but Hussamuddin used his combinations well to secure the win.
“It was a tough bout because my opponent was playing really rough and it caused me some problems but somehow I prevailed to win and proceed to the next round. I had made plans with the coach before the bout and implemented if perfectly in the match. Our plan was to keep moving in the ring and make my opponent work to reach me to attack and it worked perfectly as I hit a lot of side blows to gather points in the bout,” stated Hussamuddin after the victory.
He added, “ I am feeling really great after securing a medal for India and now I am just two steps away from a gold medal. I am confident that I will win the gold in this tournament.”
Hussamuddin will go up against Saidel Horta of Cuba in the semi-finals on Friday.
Nishant Dev beat Jorge Cuellar Of Cuba by a 5-0 unanimous decision to secure the third medal of the day for India. The Indian pugilist was facing a taller boxer with a good height advantage but used his movements and precise punches to gain an advantage over his rival in the first round.
The second round also went in the favour of the Indian boxer as he continued to be on top of his game and denied any scoring opportunity to Cuellar. Nishant, then, continued his attacking intent in the third round as well to ensure a medal for the country.
“It’s a great feeling to win a match against a Cuban boxer by a unanimous verdict. Our strategy was to create pressure on the opponent from the first round and stay strong mentally during the whole bout. I will take this positive mindset in the next round as well to reach the final. Securing a bronze medal at the World Championships is great but I will be back to India with a gold medal,” commented Nishant after the match.
Nishant Dev will fight Asian champion Aslanbek Shymbergenov of Kazakhstan in the semi-finals on Friday.
The ongoing tournament is witnessing the participation of 538 boxers, including several Olympic medallists, from 107 countries.
Indian medalists so far at the men’s Boxing World Championships:
1: Vijender Singh – Bronze – 2009
2: Vikas Krishan- Bronze- 2011
3: Shiva Thapa- Bronze- 2015
4: Gaurav Bidhuri- Bronze- 2017
5: Manish Kaushik- Bronze- 2019
6: Amit Panghal – Silver- 2019
7: Akash Kumar- Bronze- 2021
8: Deepak Bhoria- TBD* - 2023
9: Mohammad Hussamuddin - TBD* -2023
10: Nishant Dev- TBD* - 2023
*Boxers are still in action at the World Championships and will be playing their semi-final bouts on May 12.