The most experienced, yet underrated, boxer in the Indian Olympic contingent felled London 2012 light welterweight bronze medallist at Pavilion 6 of Rio’s Olympic Park. The boxer from Rajound, Haryana, had a fitful start, but found his flow and used his height to his advantage. In London 2012, Manoj Kumar was at the receiving end of some dubious judging when he lost his pre-quarterfinal bout to Tom Stalker of Great Britain.
“We knew that he (Petrauskas of Lithuania) would try to get in closer and land damaging punches, as he is short,” Kumar said. “So, our strategy was to stay out of reach and score.” Kumar won the first two rounds and lost the third. The judges unanimously awarded the bout to him.
On Wednesday, middleweight boxer Vikas Krishan, 24, had flagged off India’s boxing campaign by felling rookie American Charles Conwell 3-0. The win put Krishan, too, in the pre-quarters.
Manoj said there were eight boxers from his family, and that his win was the result of 20 years of hard work. He credited his first coach for setting him off on this road—his elder brother Rajesh Kumar Rajound, former coach of the Indian junior boxing team.