While the last year has seen boxers like Panghal and N Lalbiakkima scoring wins over fancied opponents, Kavinder Bisht added his name in that list with a split verdict victory against current world champion Kairat Yeraliyev in the 56kg quarterfinal. Like Panghal, Bisht too had made a jump — from the 52kg class — earlier this year and the boxer from Uttrakhand countered Yeraliyev’s attacks with a shell guard and landed his combinations when the world champion moved out.
“We knew that the Kazakh boxer is a hard puncher and wants to box outside. Kavinder made him play in the middle of the ring. When he came close, Kavinder landed some good punches. The Kazakh was also taking Kavinder close to the ropes but Kavinder went forward and hit some close punches. Kavinder has been quick to adapt after changing his weight category,” said Nieva.
While Yeraliyev won the bronze medal at last year’s Asian Games, the fact that Shiva Thapa, who has now moved to the 60Kg category, had defeated him a couple of times in the 56Kg, made the Indian coaches’ task easier.
“Thapa had defeated Yeraliyev earlier and we worked on a plan for Kavinder. His strength has been his stamina and we made sure that he tries for combinations against the Kazakh. Kavinder blocked the Kazakh’s punches from medium range and made a combination of 3-4 punches, which helped him win the bout,” said Kuttappa.