Indian boxers sign off with bronze for India's best-ever show at World Championship

Hussamudin was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury about an hour before the semi

PTI05_10_2023_000225B India's Deepak Bhoria (red) during his 51kg quarter-final match against Diushebaev Nurzhigit of Kyrgyzstan, at the IBA Mens World Boxing Championships in Tashkent | PTI

Deepak Bhoria (51kg), Mohammad Hussamudin (57kg) and Nishant Dev (71kg) signed off with bronze medals at the World Boxing Championships, wrapping up India's best-ever show at the marquee event here on Friday.

It was heartbreak for Hussamudin as the Nizamabad boxer was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury about an hour before his semifinal bout.

But Deepak and Nishant gave a good account of themselves, stretching their more experienced and revered opponents in their respective semifinal bouts.

Deepak's phenomenal campaign came to an end as he went down fighting to two-time World Championships bronze medallist France's Bilal Bennama 3-4 in a close contest which went into bout review.

Nishant's semifinal also went to bout review with the judges ruling in favour of the 2022 Asian champion and 2018 Asian Games silver medallist Aslanbek Shymbergenov of Kazakhstan.

The fact that all three medals come in Olympic categories bode well for India heading into the Asian Games, which is the first qualifying event for the Paris Olympics.

It was the first men's World Championships under new High Performance Director Bernard Dunne, foreign coach Dmitry Dmitruk and CA Kuttapa, who returned as head coach.

It was also the first time the men's team was selected based on the new selection policy, under which boxers are evaluated over a period of time.

In the first bout of the evening session, Deepak, who was named in the squad ahead of 2019 Worlds silver medallist Amit Panghal, began cautiously as did his opponent. Both boxers tried to get the measure of their opponents.

Deepak was able to land a few punches but Bennama used his left jabs to great effect and took the round 3-2.

Bennama was the aggressor in the second round as he moved around the ring to dodge Deepak's punches but the Indian found a way to breach the frenchman's defences and land some eye-catching right crosses. The final three minutes were fought intensely with both boxers throwing punches but the frenchman was successful in blocking Deepak's blows to take the win.

Like Deepak, there was very little separating Nishant and Shymbergenov. The 22-year-old southpaw, who had missed a medal by a whisker in the last edition, did well to throw several left and right crosses, jabs and hooks but the inaccuracy of those punches helped the Kazakh edge past him.

Earlier, the 29-year-old Hussamudin sustained a knee injury in his quarterfinal bout against J Diaz Ibanez of Bulgaria. With the Olympics next year and qualifiers approaching, Hussamudin decided against risking aggravation.

"Hussamuddin gives a walkover due to injury and settles for bronze. He had a knee injury in the last bout after which he had pain and swelling," Boxing Federation of India (BFI) said in a statement.

"After careful and detailed assessment by medical team, Team Management have decided that he won't take part in the semi final bout which is to take place today as he doesn't want the injury to aggravate rather recover for future competitions."

Hussamudin, who was competing in his debut World Championships, was scheduled to face Cuba's Saidel Horta in the last four clash.

India's previous best show came in 2019 edition when Amit Panghal clinched an unprecedented silver and Manish Kaushik grabbed a bronze medal.

India's previous medal winners at the men's World Championships include Vijender Singh (bronze, 2009), Vikas Krishan (bronze, 2011), Shiva Thapa (bronze, 2015), Gaurav Bidhuri (bronze, 2017), Panghal (silver, 2019), Kaushik (bronze, 2019) and Akash Kumar (bronze, 2021). 


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