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Lakra bows out in World Championship quarters

November 02, 2007 12:21 IST

A L Lakra failed to sustain the form that earned him a berth for next year's Beijing Olympics and crashed out in the quarter-finals to wind up India's campaign at the World Boxing Championship in Chicago.

Lakra lost 6-17 to Asian bronze medallist Yang Li in the feather weight category at the University of Chicago's UIC Pavillion on Thursday.

The Army boxer struggled from the start and was unable to garner a single point in the first two rounds as Li established a six-point lead.

The Indian finally opened his account in the penultimate round; scoring four but his opponent had widened the gap to a massive nine points by then, making it impossible for Lakra to catch up in the final round.

Li will now take on Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko in the semi-finals on Friday.

India are currently tied for the 18th spot at the biggest, toughest and, according to AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, the "best ever" world championship, with nine points.

India had sent an eight-member team, comprising this year's national champions, for the event but only Lakra managed to book a berth for Beijing 2008 by reaching the last-eight stage.

In an intimidating field of over 550 boxers representing 121 countries, the Indians did reasonably well with Asian Games bronze medallist Vijender's (75kg) loss in the second round being the only real shocker.

However, the 22-year-old, and others who missed the bus this time, will have another shot at Olympic qualification during the Asian qualifiers scheduled in January next year at Bangkok.

Jitender (51kg) and Jai Bhagwan (60kg), who lost in the pre-quarters, also gave a good account of themselves, the former giving a tough fight to three-time European champion Georgy Balakshin of Russia in the last-16 stage.

With 1.1 points per boxer, the Indian team has done better then the likes of Uzbekistan and Hungary, who have sent bigger teams for the championship.

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