Beijing: Indian boxer Vijender Kumar settled for a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics after being out-punched by Cuban Emilio Correa Bayeaux in the semifinals of the 75kg category here today.
The 22-year-old was simply out-thought by his Cuban rival who negated the height and reach advantage of Vijender by fighting from a long range to score an 8-5 win.
But even in defeat, Vijender has made history, becoming the only Indian boxer to clinch an Olympic medal.
Vijender, a Doha Asiad bronze medallist, struggled to connect his punches and was trailing from the very start.
In fact he failed to score a single point in the opening round, which ended 2-0 in the Cuban’s favour.
Forced to play the catch-up game, Vijender managed a slight recovery in the second round as he reduced the deficit to just one point ending the second round 3-4 behind.
Bayeaux stuck to his strategy of back-paddling after landing punches, most of which were straight and more importantly precise.
The Cuban’s lightening fast reflexes thwarted Vijender’s attacks and the Indian once again failed to score in the third round.
The decider saw a desperate Vijender on the offensive but the Cuban survived the brief assault, although earning a two-point penalty for committing a foul, leaving the scoreline 8-5.