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Boxing WC: Jitender, Lakra advance

December 11, 2008 20:47 IST

Jitender Kumar (51kg) pummelled Welshman Jo Gage 18-6 while AL Lakra (57kg) got a walkover to the semi-finals, assuring India of an unprecedented four medals at the AIBA boxing World Cup in Moscow on Thursday.

After Akhil Kumar (54kg) and Dinesh Kumar's (81kg) resounding quarter-final victories on Wednesday, Jitender and Lakra's entry to the last four stage also retained India's unbeaten run at the prize money event, where the gold medallist would take home $ 10,000 and the silver and bronze medal winners $ 5,000 and 2,500, respectively.

Lakra got a walkover against Mexican Arturo Reyes Santos, who was deemed over-weight before the bout.

India's last medal at the event was through V Devarajan, who managed a bronze at the 1994 edition. Before that, Joran Thanga also won a bronze in the 1990 World Cup in Mumbai.

Jitender next faces Pan-American Championships gold medallist Hernandez Lafita of Cuba, who beat Moldovan Alexandr Riscan 10-6.

Lakra, on the other hand, would either be up against World Championship bronze medallist Yang Li of China or Cuba's Idel Torriente.

An aggressive Jitender dominated the proceedings from the word go and took early initiative by leading 5-0 after the first round. He cooled off a bit in the second round and landed just three scoring punches but a tight defence ensured that Gage's score-sheet remained blank.

The 22-year-old Haryana-boxer, who bravely fought with 11 stitches on his chin during his quarter-final loss in the Beijing Olympics, was back to his attacking best in the penultimate round and earned seven points against his opponent's three to ensure a comfortable lead going into the final round.

"I couldn't sleep the whole night. Although I had not even seen Gage before today, my coaches had prepared a detailed plan and I just had to ensure that I applied it well. I read him in the first round besides being aggressive which made sure that I had taken a good lead by the third round," Jitender told PTI after the bout.

"Akhil is my mentor and he ensures that I am never short of confidence no matter which opponent I face. Like him, my target is always the gold medal," he added.

Akhil, meanwhile, will be up against Beijing Olympics silver medallist Yankiel Leon Alarcon of Cuba in the semi-finals on December 13. Dinesh will face Vladimir Cheles in the last-eight stage.

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