Demonstrating extraordinary courage and tactical awareness at the right moments, Akash Kumar (54kg) knocked out Rio Olympic silver medallist Yoel Finol of Venezuela in the quarter-final to book India's first medal at AIBA men's Boxing World Championships in Belgrade on November 2. 21-year-old Akash, who hails from Bhiwani, began the bout against Finol fearlessly and dominated him throughout the fight.
Using his quick and twinkling footwork, long reach with the jab, terrific speed, and accurate punching, Akash counter-attacked relentlessly in the initial rounds. The Venezuelan tried his best to assert himself in the final round, however, Akash boxed smartly and stayed out of his range, moved around the ring and evaded punches confidently.
21 year old young puglist was unaware of his mother's demise, a day before Nationals kicked off in Karnataka. #AkashKumar played nationals & went on to became the national champion and now a world championships medalist 🔥— Boxing Federation (@BFI_official) November 2, 2021
Kudos 👏🏻#PunchMeinHaiDum#boxing#aibawchs2021 pic.twitter.com/ZVXxKL812F
'The Aim Was To Counter-Attack'
"Our strategy was to be on an attacking mode to win the first round, and then in the next rounds, the aim was to counter-attack and keep the flurry of punches," Akash was quoted as saying in a Boxing Federation of India (BFI) release.
The young boxer dedicated the landmark victory to his mother, who died just before the Championships started, and to his father, who passed away back in 2010. "This medal means the world to me. I want to dedicate it to my parents. This is my first big tournament and I am extremely proud and emotional. I want to give absolutely everything to bring home the gold medal. I want to thank all my coaches and support staff who have helped me reach here," he said.
What's Next For Akash Kumar?
During the upcoming semi-final on Sunday, the 21-year-old Indian boxer will take on Kazakhstan's Makhmud Sabyrkhan.
With his win over Finol, Akash has already secured a bronze medal for India on his World Championships debut. He is also now the 7th Indian male boxer to win a medal in the tournament.