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Mizo boxer NT Lalbiakkima creates history, defeats World No 1 Hasanboy Dusmatov

Aizawl/Guwahati: Indian boxer from Mizoram N.T. Lalbiakkima scripted history on Friday by defeating world number 1 and Olympic gold medallist Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in the President's Cup, an international boxing tournament under way in Kazakhasthan.

The 22-year-old from Saiha in southern Mizoram is the first Indian to have beaten a reigning Olympic gold medallist, that too on his maiden tournament for India. He beat Dusmatov 4-1 in the quarter-final in light flyweight (49kg) to storm into the semi-final to assure himself of a medal. He will meet Kazakhstan's Ezahn in the semi-final on Saturday.

"I was nervous before the bout as Dusmatov is the world number one. I knew he is the best boxer in the world. But I want to be the best too," he told reporters.

Boxing Federation of India (BFI) treasurer Hemanta Kalita said: "Lalbiakkima has brought yet another laurel to the nation and made all of us very proud. This will enhance his confidence. We will take all steps, including overseas training, to prepare Lalbiakkima for the 2020 Olympics."

India and Uzbekistan have recently entered a pact for an exchange programme in boxing which will start next month.

In his last bout on Thursday, Lalbiakkima knocked down Thailand's Thaani in just 20 seconds.

Lalbiakkima was first exposed to boxing in 2009 when local cable network LPS vision and Mizoram Boxing Association organised Pro Fight. He won the tournament four consecutive times since 2014.

Hailing from a humble background, Lalbiakkima won bronze in the 2017 senior nationals, following which he was invited to join the national camp in Patiala. He joined the navy in 2015 and is based in Mumbai.


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