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September 22, 2000
Jitendra Kumar goes out in boxingThe Rediff Team
India's Jitendra Kumar was completely outthought and outfought by Romania's Adrian Diaconu in the second round of the 75kg men's boxing event, in a bout that underlined the value of preparation and ringcraft.
Kumar had the advantage of height and reach over the Romanian. One of the taller boxers in the business, the Indian has, on the Asian and Commonwealth circuit, had much success standing tall, dancing around and using his long reach to come up with points-scoring jabs.
Judged by the way the Romanian boxed, his camp had taken the trouble to check up on the Indian. Right from the opening bell, therefore, Diaconu countered Kumar's favourite boxing style by keeping a high guard, not giving room for Kumar to score points with the jab. This in turn forced Kumar to come in closer, whereupon the speedy Romanian would slip inside the jab, throw a flurry of punches to score quick points, and then dance away again.
It must have been a pretty boring affair for the crowd, since for the most part, the two boxers were skirmishing, without really getting in there and mixing it up for any extended periods. The scoring pattern reflected the nature of the fight -- Diaconu scored two points to Kumar's 1 in the first round; and two to nothing in the second.
Being 4-1 at the start of the third was sufficient to induce panic in the Indian boxer, and in his seconds. The third round saw Kumar forgetting ringcraft as he shambled along after the back-peddaling Romanian, desperately seeking points. Every so often, Diaconu would stop, thump the Indian one, and waltz away again. The result being that by the time the round ended, Kumar was well nigh out of it, trailing 9-2.
That made the last round pretty much a formality, despite Kumar's desperate attempts to try and land a solid punch. The Romanian, apparently figuring that the Indian didn't have the steam to land a knockout punch (which was the only way Kumar could have won from that position) opted, towards the end of the round, to stand in place and trade a few short arm jabs with the Indian. Kumar managed to score a point at this stage with a nice roundhouse right to the jaw, but by then, the Romanian had bloodied his nose with a jab and followed it up with a left hook to go out a comfortable winner at 11-3.
With that, Jitendra Kumar's Olympic campaign has ended.
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