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Akhil Kumar wins

Also adjudged best boxer of the tournament

— PHOTO: AP

PACKING A PUNCH: India’s Akhil Kumar (left) throws a left at Thailand’s Worapoj Petchkoom during their bantamweight class final.

BANGKOK: Akhil Kumar beat the odds, the judges, and the Athens Olympics silver medallist, Worapoj Petchkoom of Thailand, to win the bantamweight gold medal at the first Asian Olympic qualifying boxing tournament here on Saturday.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist Akhil (54kg), started tentatively against Worapoj but after his punches failed to reflect in the points given, the Indian went all out in the third round before overwhelming the Thai boxer 21-11.

“He was boxing very well from the start, but the judges seemed to be inclined towards the local favourite,” coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said.

On Friday, having won his semifinal bout, Akhil had secured Olympic quota place for the Beijing Games.

Featherweight A.L. Lakra is the other Indian to have earned Olympic quota. Lakra won the ticket to Beijing when he reached quarterfinals in the World championship in Chicago last November.

Akhil was down by one point after the first round (3-4), but he levelled the scores, 7-7, midway through the bout. He improved his lead to 13-9 at the end of the penultimate round.

There was no stopping the Indian as he pounded punches in a flurry to claim the deserving win. Akhil was also adjudged the “Best Boxer of the Tournament”.

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