New Delhi: Indian boxers L Devendro Singh (49kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) fought hard but eventually ran out of steam against their fancied opponents to bow out after quarterfinal losses in the World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan on Wednesday. (Agencies)
The Olympic berths having secured after reaching the quarterfinals, the Indians were aiming for medals at the mega-event but it was not to be as Devendro lost to Asian champion and second seed Shin Jong Hoon 16-28 while Manoj went down to fifth seed Thomas Stalker of England 18-24.
The 19-year-old Devendro, who has proved to be a pint-sized dynamo in his maiden senior international tournament, finally found a match in Hoon after an impressive giant-killing spree.
The Manipuri was his usual spunky and energetic self as he opened the day for India but Hoon got a measure of his game quite early on in the bout.
The 23-year-old Korean, who was a bronze-medallist at the previous World Championships, withstood the initial onslaught from his eager rival before launching his attack.
Taller and more experienced, Hoon kept a shell guard and invited Devendro before attacking him with some telling jabs. He ducked craftily and took advantage of his better reach to catch Devendro off guard on several ocassions to be up 11-9 in the opening round.
The second round followed a similar script as Devendro managed just five points against his rival's nine to be down 14-20 overall.
The frustration showed when the Indian hit his rival thrice after the bell had gone in the second round. The third round was an all-out slug fest with Hoon managing to connect more often to wrap up a rather comfortable win.
Next up was Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj. The 25-year-old was up against another CWG gold medallist (in the light weight 60kg division), who went on to clinch a silver at this year's European Championships.
Both the boxers treaded cautiously initially and it was Stalker who opened up first by lowering his guard.
With a left hook that fetched him points whenever he wanted, Stalker seemed in control from the very start even though the opening round scoreline had the Indian trailing by just a point at 4-5.
Manoj tried hard to break his rival's rock-solid defence with uppercuts but Stalker, at an imposing 5'10, didn't seem too affected. Using left hooks and jabs, Stalker built on his lead to make 16-11 after the second round.
Manoj fought hard in the final round but the effort could not wipe off the lead he had conceded as the 27-year-old Englishman clinched the issue.
New Delhi: Indian boxers L Devendro Singh (49kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) fought hard but eventually ran out of steam against their fancied opponents to bow out after quarterfinal losses in the World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan on Wednesday.