New Delhi: Having already secured India’s seventh medal in the history of the tournament, Akash Kumar will be looking to continue his stellar show and enter the final at the 2021 AIBA Men’s World Championships when he collides with Kazakhstan’s Makhmud Sabyrkhan in the 54kg semi-final in Belgrade, Serbia on Thursday.
The 21-year-old boxer, who hails from Bhiwani, made his way into the semi-finals after causing one of the major upsets in the 21st edition of the tournament when he handed a crushing 5-0 defeat to the Rio Olympics silver medallist and strong medal contender Yoel Finol from Venezuela.
On the other hand, the 20-year-old young Kazakh star Sabyrkhan sealed his spot in the semi-finals after outclassing Brazil’s first quarter-finalist at the Championships, Michael Trinidade.
With a place in the semi-finals, debutant Akash joined an elite list of medal-winning Indian pugilists at the world’s one of the biggest boxing events. Amit Panghal (silver in 2019), Vijender Singh (bronze in 2009), Vikas Krishan (bronze in 2011), Shiva Thapa (bronze in 2015), Gaurav Bidhuri (bronze in 2017) and Manish Kaushik (bronze in 2019) have won medals for the country at the Men’s World Championships in the past.
While Akash made his way into the Last-4 stage, four other Indian boxers—Sanjeet, Narender Berwal, Shiva Thapa and Nishant Dev, ended their campaigns after suffering losses in their respective quarter-finals bout played late on Tuesday night.
The seasoned boxer Shiva Thapa went down to Turkey’s Kerem Oezmen by unanimous margin in the 63.5kg Last-8 match while it was yet another quarter-final heartbreak for the reigning Asian champion Sanjeet. The Indian conceded a 0-5 loss against Italy’s Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine after suffering a biceps injury in the first round during the 92kg contest. In the last edition of the championships in 2019 as well, Sanjeet had exited in the quarter-finals stage.
Narender (+92kg) and Nishant (71kg) also lost to Azerbaijan’s Mahammad Abdullayev and Russia’s Vadim Musaev respectively in their quarter-finals.
The on-going prestigious event has been witnessing thrilling action between 650 top boxers from more than 100 participating countries from across the world.
The gold medallists of each category will receive $100,000 while silver and bronze medallists will be given $50,000 and $25,000 respectively. Alongside an enormous prize pool of $2.6 million, AIBA will also award the winners with beautifully designed medals, made of solid gold and silver respectively, and belts to commemorate their accomplishments.