Boxer Hussamuddin makes perfect start, Simranjit in action today

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Express News Service

CHENNAI: Mohammad Hussamuddin (56 kg) gave India a perfect start, beating Makhmud Sabyrkhan of Kazakhstan with a unanimous verdict.

The southpaw boxer danced around the ring, evading his opponent at will while also landing some good punches to make a solid start in the opening round. Sensing that he could be behind, his rival Sabyrkhan was more aggressive in the second. He kept coming at Hussamuddin, but the latter continued to maintain smart footwork and sneak in some solid point-fetching punches.

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With just the final round to go, Hussamuddin knew he still had work to do as his rival kept up the aggression. It was bound to be a test of will and endurance and Hussamuddin showed his mettle once again to operate smartly and frustrate his rival, who gave it all.  In the end, all the judges at the ringside voted in favour of Hussamuddin.

After this grueling test, Hussamuddin will look to recover quickly as he’ll be up against top seed and reigning world champ Mirazizbek Mirzahalilov of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinal on Tuesday. Meanwhile, all eyes will be on World Championships bronze medallist Simranjit Kaur on the second day of the competition.

Simranjit was one of the high-profile boxers who had contracted Covid and had recovered in the nick of time to make it for this competition. The Olympic-bound boxer will face Uzbekistan’s Raykhona Kodirova in the women’s 60 kg quarterfinal bout. Women’s high-performance director Raffaele Bergamasco admitted that she is not at the level where she could be in terms of fitness, but nevertheless expects the Punjab boxer to make a mark.

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“Simranjit is not in the best of condition but we expect her to do well. She has a massive desire to win and is really an optimistic person in general.”

Apart from Simranjit, Sakshi (54 kg), Jasmine (57 kg) will also begin their campaign on Tuesday. Even though she’s not part of the Olympics team, this continental event will be an introduction to major boxing for youngster Jasmine. She had recently made a name for herself during the Boxam Tournament in Castellon de la Plana, in Spain, where she had medalled.

“We are not trying to put undue pressure on her young shoulders. She is relaxed and ready to give her best,” Bergamasco said.

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Six women pugilists including MC Mary Kom have already secured a medal without throwing a single punch. It might seem absurd but given the present scenario, getting potentially two bouts (if everyone manages to reach the final), will be a big boost for them. Bergamasco knows the significance of this and is more concerned about boxers’ performance.

“Some of them have already secured medals but I’m really not concerned whether they will win a medal or not. I’m more concerned about their performance. That will be the key.” There might be just 57 women boxers, but Bergamasco is happy with the quality of the boxers.

“Our opponents are mostly from some of the top teams like Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. So it should be a good test,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Sanjeet (91 kg), who’s the No 2 seed and got a bye in the opening round, will also be in action on Tuesday against Jakhon Qurbonov of Tajikistan. 

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