New Delhi: Teen Indian boxing sensation Vikas Krishan`s dream run at the World Championships came to an end as he settled for a bronze medal after losing his welterweight (69kg) semifinal bout in Baku, Azerbaijan on Friday.
Up against Ukraine`s European Championship bronze-medallist Taras Shelestyuk, the 19-year-old Vikas went down 12-15.
The Asian Games gold medallist thereby repeated the bronze-medal winning feat of Olympian Vijender Singh at the mega-event but has become the youngest Indian to notch a medal at the showcase.
Facing a stronger rival, Vikas kept a shell guard to stave off an early assault but the sheer power of Shelestyuk`s hooks and uppercuts forced him to open up which allowed the Ukrainian to connect a few telling jabs.
Strength proved to be a key factor as Vikas found it tough to cope with a muscular rival, who threw caution to the wind and fought aggressively to lead 4-2 in the opening round.
In the second round, Vikas changed strategy and tried keeping Shelestyuk at bay by fighting from a distance but the Ukrainian`s precision was hard to deal with for the Indian, whose ribcage became the target of some powerful bodyblows.
The round ended 10-6 in favour of the Ukrainian and it required a miraculous effort to turn the deficit around. But the guile and adaptability which Vikas showed in his earlier bouts was missing today against an opponent focussed on attacking.
The Indian was much more precise with his punches in the final round but this time the Ukrainian kept a shell guard to deny the Indian. Even though Vikas managed to win the last round 6-5 but it could not wipe off the overall deficit.
Shelestyuk will now be up against Serik Sapiyev of Kazakhstan who left his Lithuanian rival Egidijus Kavaliauskas with a bloodied nose in the first round itself, forcing him to retire at the end of the opening three minutes.
The Kazakh was leading 8-2 when the Lithuanian corner decided to concede the bout.