Bidhuri punches hard, secures medal for India

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Hamburg: Wild card Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) today assured himself of at least a bronze medal at the Boxing World Championships, becoming only the fourth Indian ever to win a medal at the mega event.
Also, he is only the second Indian after Vikas Krishan to win a medal in his maiden appearance at the event. Amit Phangal (49kg), another impressive Indian debutant, however, bowed out in the quarterfinals.
Bidhuri defeated Tunisia’s Bilel Mhamdi in a split decision to enter the semifinals.
The Indian went on the offensive from the word go and had his opponent on the ropes on more than one occasion with his combination of punches. The barrage of punches opened up a cut on the forehead of Mhamdi.
It went from bad to worse for the Tunisian as he was given a warning in the second round for failing to keep his head up. The Tunisian, despite a bloodied face, upped the ante in the final three minutes and delivered some good right hooks but Bidhuri had done enough damage in the first two rounds to earn the judges’ nod.
Roller-coaster ride
It has been a roller-coaster ride for Bidhuri in the last few weeks. He hadn’t even qualified for the tournament. Ousted in the Asian Championships quarterfinal stage, he lost the box-off as well for a World Championships spot. It was a sheer stroke of good luck that saw him board the flight to the World Championships — he was given a wild card after Bhutan declined the opportunity.
Not surprisingly, the Delhi boxer was not seen as a medal contender at the Worlds. The spotlight was firmly on seasoned campaigners like Shiva Thapa, Vikas Krishan and Manoj Kumar. However, with all the seniors out, the spotlight is firmly on him.
Phangal, the Asian Championships bronze medalist, went down to Olympics champion and second seed Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in a unanimous verdict. — PTI

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