Former Commonwealth Games gold-medalist Manoj Kumar (64kg) put up a spirited show but could not match the power of fifth seed Fazliddin Gaibnazarov in his pre-quarterfinal bout to bow out of the Olympic Games here on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Indian went down 3-0 in the contest which was not particularly engaging in its quality of boxing but showcased Manoj’s fighting spirit. The 25-year-old Gaibnazarov, the World and Asian Championships silver-medallist from Uzbekistan, was consistently better than Manoj but the Indian impressed with his never-say-die spirit.
To Manoj’s credit, he never seemed short of spirit or energy despite the blows he was taking from Gaibnazarov. The Haryana lad was way more aggressive in the final round but Gaibnazarov’s footwork and tremendous balance while back-peddling negated the attempted attacks.
With Manoj and Shiva Thapa (56kg), who lost in the opening round, ousted from contention, India’s boxing campaign now comprises only Vikas Krishan.
Vikas is scheduled to fight his quarterfinal bout on Monday.