New Delhi: Indian boxer Shyam Kakara booked a ticket to this year`s Youth Olympics besides assuring himself of a medal in the ongoing World Youth Championships after advancing to the semifinals with a thrilling quarterfinal win in Sofia, Bulgaria on Monday.
The Andhra Pradesh boxer defeated Venezuela`s Yoel Finol 2-1 in a draining 49kg bout to make the semifinal stage, which was a pre-requisite to make the cut for the Youth Olympics to be held in Nanjing, China from August 16 to 28.
"This is the biggest win of my career," the 18-year-old told PTI from Sofia. "I have won two gold medals and a silver in my previous international trips and I am now hoping to use it as a stepping stone to the senior level," he added.
The Indian started the bout well by taking the opening round but Finol fought back to equalise. However, Shyam raised his game in the decisive three minutes to pull off the win. "Our boy fought with aggression. The other guy was taller than him but Shyam made good use of combination punches to stay ahead. It was a close bout without doubt but our boy was slightly better," national youth coach G Manoharan said.
The Indians are competing under the International Boxing Association (AIBA) flag due to the termination following the federation`s failure to comply with the world body`s directives on holding elections.