I’m much improved boxer, says Hussamuddin

Mohd Hussamuddin with his bronze medal that he won in Cologne Boxing World Cup.

Hyderabad: At a time when tournaments are a rarity this year, Mohammed Hussamuddin lost a golden opportunity to win a gold in the small field in the 57kg category in the Cologne boxing World Cup that concluded in Köln on Sunday. This tournament was one of the last highlights of the pandemic-hit season.

The Nizamabad pugilist suffered a severe cut on his left eyebrow while defeating Umar Bajwa of Germany. Boxing with a lot of pain, Hussamuddin lost to H Shadalov, also of Germany, in the semifinals and had to return to India with a bronze medal. “I was in good form and I had a good bout against the German in the first match. But unfortunately I got a big cut on my left eye during the bout. Although I won, I was very uncomfortable in my semifinal match against another German,’’ said Hussamuddin.

The Indians returned with nine medals, including three gold medals. They ended their 67-days Europe training and competition campaign. “It was a long tour and the training camps were held in Italy where pugilists from the USA, Ireland and France were present. But we were almost locked up in our training camps as Italy was in the midst of lockdown and a pandemic wave,’’ he said.

Hussamuddin, the bronze medallist in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games two years ago, said the training in Italy was very beneficial. “A lot of focus was on fitness. I could improve my defence. I’m a much improved boxer now.‘’

The Indian pugilist was hopeful that there will be more tournaments in 2021. With the Tokyo Olympics being put off by a year, Hussamuddin has a chance to fight in the Games. “I have a chance to box in the Tokyo Olympics and the qualifying tournaments will be held from March. I’m in good shape and looking forward to qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. Hopefully, I can make the cut,’’ said Hussamuddin.

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