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Yadav beats Abaka in AIBA Pro Boxing bout



Noida, June 11 : Indian boxer Vikas Krishan Yadav hammered Nickson Abaka of Kenya in their AIBA Pro Boxing bout here on Saturday to take a a decisive step towards a professional career.

The 24-year-old southpaw from Bhiwani dominated the six-round middleweight (75kg) contest, winning by a unanimous 3-0 decision, with a total score of 60 to 54.

Saturday’s win also earned him eligibility to participate in the Olympic qualification tournament for professional boxers to be held in Venezuela next month.

Facing a much experienced opponent, Vikas looked totally at ease and in control. He kept a lower guard than usual and depended on his speed and reflexes to dodge his opponent’s punches.

He preferred to sit back a bit in the earier rounds and allowed the Kenyan to dictate the pace. The Indian however, was the more accurate of the two, scoring frequently with quick jabs and the occasional straight punches to the face.

The quick pace in the earlier rounds gradually seemed to have their effect on Abaka and the Kenyan seemed to tire a bit as the bout wore on. Sensing an opportunity, Vikas upped the ante, landing a barrage of punches on his opponent in the last couple of rounds.

Rohit Jain, promoter and president of the Delhi Boxing Association, handed the winner’s trophy to Vikas Yadav.

“This is a great day for Indian boxing,” Jain, who was the host and sponsor of the event, said.

Yadav will now travel with the Indian squad to Baku, Azerbaijan for an Olympic qualifying event which is scheduled to start on June 16. The national squad is scheduled to depart for Azerbaijan on Sunday.

“I was a bit apprehensive as I already had a slight cut on my face and we are departing for the Olympic qualifiers tomorrow. So I wanted to play a bit safely,” Vikas said after the bout.

“I got hit on my injured area initially and it started to bleed a little. So I deliberately kept the pace slow initially,” he added.

“I had lowered my guard today more than usual as I maintained a considerable distance from him and tried to get the better of him by using my speed. I wanted to show the crowd what technical boxing is all about and I guess I was successful in doing that.”

Complimenting Abaka for his tenacity, Yadav said the Kenyan proved to be an extremely tough opponent.

“He was a very experienced boxer. The kind of powerful punches I landed on him, no amateur would have been able to take. I landed almost all my left hooks, which shook him up a couple of times, but he took all my punches and just kept on fighting,” Yadav said.

“The first punch that I landed on him was very crucial. He could not recover after that. I could figure it out by the way he was moving and I took full advantage of it,” he added.

This was only the second six-round bout in Yadav’s fledgling professional boxing career, and the Haryana lad asserted that the win has given him much needed confidence in his quest to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

“It was a very important win for me because it has boosted me up for the upcoming Olympic qualifiers. It was not necessary for me to win but going into a tournament with a win helps a lot mentally,” he said.


Australia suspends Olympic bid amid COVID-19 recovery





Sydney, May 25 (IANS) Australia’s Queensland has suspended its bid to host the 2032 Olympics recently as the state government focuses on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the bid process had been paused, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s just on hold. I wouldn’t read too much into that,” Palaszczuk told reporters last weekend.

“We’re focused absolutely on the economic recovery at the moment.”

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it fully supported the Queensland government’s position in placing the Brisbane 2032 candidature on hold.

AOC President John Coates said in a recent statement that meetings of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group (OCLG) scheduled earlier this year were deferred, allowing governments to focus on dealing with COVID-19.

Coates said he’d proposed to OCLG members that the meetings would not proceed while all three levels of governments dealt with the pandemic.

He also told the AOC Annual General Meeting on May 9 that discussions with the IOC on the candidature would resume when appropriate.

“We all understand there are pressing issues of public health and community wellbeing for governments to address,” Coates said.

“The candidature will have its role to play in terms of jobs and growth in the Queensland economy once we have seen our way through the current crisis.”

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‘Hockey has lost its brightest star’: Balbir Singh Sr passes away




Balbir Singh Senior

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Hockey India has expressed condolences on the sad demise of legendary player Balbir Singh Sr who breathed his last on Monday morning in Mohali. The triple Olympic Champion and World Cup-winning team manager had been battling for life since May 8 when he was hospitalised.

“Today, we have not only lost our greatest hockey legend but we have also lost ‘our guiding light’. While his achievements in post-independent era have been well-documented, Balbir Sr remained the greatest fan of the sport and was always there when we needed his advice. Hockey has lost its brightest star and everyone at Hockey India is pained by this news,” said Hockey India President Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad.

He further said: “Balbir Singh Sr’s exemplary achievements, his passion for the sport, his life as an icon of the game will remain an example for generations to come. On behalf of the federation, I express my deepest condolences to his family.”

He was the most decorated athlete in Indian sports history with Olympic medals in 1948, 1952 and 1956 Summer Games. He coached the Indian team which won the bronze medal at the 1971 World Cup and was manager of the Indian team that won the gold medal at the 1975 World Cup.

He had scored five goals in India’s 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Under his captaincy, India scored 38 goals and conceded none on its way to the gold medal in 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Beating England 4-0 in their own backyard during the final of the 1948 Olympic Games as an independent nation was Balbir Sr’s ‘greatest moment’.

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Former Pak batsman Taufeeq Umar tests positive for COVID-19





New Delhi, Former Pakistan opener Taufeeq Umar tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. Umar featured in 44 Tests and 12 ODIs, amassing 2,963 and 504 runs respectively for Pakistan.

He played his last international match in 2014, a Test against New Zealand in Dubai.

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