India’s Satish Kumar bows out from the quarterfinals of his debut Games after putting up a fierce fight against reigning World and Asian champion Bakhodir Jalolov of Uzbekistan. Satish is India’s first super heavyweight (+91kg) boxer to compete in the Olympics.
Blood oozed out from Satish Kumar’s right eye on Bakhodir Jalolov’s shoulder. It spoke about the courage Satish had shown during his quarterfinal bout against Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov.
Taking the ring with multiple stitches on his forehead and chin after sustaining cuts in the pre-quarters, Satish lost 0-5 but the scoreline was not reflective of his brave performance.
Satish sustained two cuts during his pre-quarterfinal showdown against Jamaica’s Ricardo Brown.
The 32-year-old put up a gutsy performance and showed his ‘India Army spirit,’ of never giving up against the reigning world and Asian champion Bakhodir Jalolov.
The spunky Army boxer stood his ground, occasionally managed to land a shot with his right hand, but Jalolov dominated the proceedings all through.
Kumar was overmatched in all departments, but his spirited performance earned him the respect of his Uzbeki opponent. Jalolov acknowledged his rival’s bravery at the end of the bout. Jalolov gave Kumar a warm hug before the Indian boxer left the ring.
Before leaving for Tokyo, the Indian Army boxer from Bulandshahar told IndiaToday.In that, he wants to serve the country in the field if the need arises.
“Desh sabse pehle hai, desh ke liye hamesha tayar hu. Muaka milega tab woh bhi karenge (Country comes first, I am ready to serve the people in any capacity if the need arises).”
Satish’s tryst with boxing
Gifted with a gangly 6’2” frame, Satish’s first tryst with the sport was during his initial days of joining as a Sepoy in the Army at Ranikhet in 2008. Near the army training camp, a handful of boxers were training under the eyes of Ravishankar Sangwan. But Sangwan had his eyes pinned on a young, well-built Satish and immediately went up to him to ask, “You have the right frame for a boxer, do you want to give a shot?” And the rest is history.
Satish has dominated the super heavyweight division for many years now. However, despite his performance in the ring, Satish was not selected for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games (CWG) but delivered a telling statement for his non-inclusion in the CWG, bagging back-to-back bronze medals (2014 Asian Games and 2015 Asian Boxing Championships).
He bagged a bronze medal in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and followed it with another bronze medal effort at the Asian Boxing Championship in Bangkok.
At the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia, Satish bagged a silver before capping off the year with a gold at the 3rd men’s nationals in Pune. In 2019, he won a silver at the Makran Cup in Iran before grabbing the Olympic berth in Jordan in 2020.
Disappointing outing for Indian boxers
Kumar’s gutsy performance is the sole consolation for the men’s Indian boxing contingent, who have failed to live up to the hype at the biggest stage.
Amit Panghal (52kg), Manish Kaushik (63kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), and Ashish Chaudhary (75kg) have bowed out with opening-round losses from among the nine-strong squad that qualified for the Games.
Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) remains the lone pugilist in the fray after having made the semifinals to secure India’s first and only boxing medal of the ongoing edition.