CHENNAI: Narender (+92kg) was a different class on Sunday. Up against an experienced opponent in the form of Jakhon Qurbonov, a rival from Tajikistan who has been boxing at the international level since 2005, the Indian showed his ruthless power, to post a dominant victory and book a quarterfinal berth in the ongoing AIBA Men’s World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia on Sunday.
Narender, using his height and reach to his advantage, was relentless in the opening round. He literally bullied his opponent throughout the contest. He kept throwing those heavy punches to have Qurbonov on the backfoot. Qurbonov, who suffered a cut below his left eye, was clearly shaken. Unable to find his range, Qurbonov showed plenty of desire to counter the Indian and did all he could to find an opening and counter. However, the Indian had other ideas. The boxer from Haryana kept up the pressure, giving Qurbonov no chance to spoil his game plan. After the sound of the bell (Round 1), Narender’s dominance was clear as he got the majority votes from all the judges by the ringside.
The second round was no different. Sensing that he’s behind, Qurbonov showed some aggression. However, Narender, clearly confident after a dominant display in the opening round, went on the attack, outboxing his opponent in the process. However, the referee, who had seen enough by then, stopped the contest in the Indian boxer’s favour. Earlier, Akash Kumar had also put up an impressive show to become the first Indian to book a quarterfinal berth. Boxing in a marquee meet for the first time, Akash, who competes in the 54kg category, got the better of Puerto Rico’s Caleb Tirado.
The 21-year-old, one of the new faces in the squad, is now just one win away from a medal. Akash started the bout on an aggressive note, trading punches continuously in the opening two rounds.