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Mixed fortunes for Indian pugilists
March 17, 2006 16:03 IST
Manchester Games silver medallist Som Bahadur Pun put up a brave fight but fell by the wayside as Vijender and Harpreet Singh recorded resounding victories in the boxing competition of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne on Friday.
In the 64 kg light-welter category, Pun lost to home favourite Todd Alan Kidd on points (31-19), but in the 69 kg welterweight and 91 kg heavyweight, Vijender and Harpreet proved too strong for respective rivals, Poleti Seipua of Samoa and South African Sean Santana, forcing the referees to stop the contests.
Som Bahadur was technically better than his Australian opponent. The Indian started attacking from the word go but his taller opponent was cautious and held back punches.
The Indian attacked and landed punches accurately to rattle Kidd as he led the first round 5-4 but committed the mistake of trying to knock down Kidd instead of hitting and maintaining a distance from him in the second round.
Kidd, backed by a vociferous crowd, started landing punches all over the Indian. In the second round, he took the lead garnering 10 points as against Bahadur's three.
Som, trying to close the gap in the penultimate round, went flat out on the offensive and in the process dropped his guard. He failed to get past the Australian's solid defence.
Kidd unleashed a flurry of jabs and some of his punches landed on the Indian with a telling effect, but full credit to Som, who did not give up. The Australian won the third round by a narrow margin (10-7), but had built up an unbeatable lead (24-15) by then.
In the last round Kidd adopted defensive tactics while Som attacked, but it was too little too late for the Indian. Kidd emerged winner 31-19 (4-5, 10-3, 10-7, 7-4).
Meanwhile, in the 69 kg category, Vijender proved too strong for Poleti Seipua. The Indian led the three rounds convincingly, when midway through the penultimate round the referee stopped the contest.
The Indian was leading 25-5 when the bout was stopped.
In the 91 kg category, Harpreet Singh thrashed Sean Santana. His jabs and hooks unnerved the South African, who tried to run around the ring but could not avoid getting punished.
Sean looked helpless as Harpreet rained blows. In the 35th second of the fourth round the referee came to his rescue and stopped the contest.
Harpreet has a good chance to win a medal, as in the quarterfinals he faces little-known Fijian boxer N T Cagiloaloa.