Ilyas falls to Irish boxer in featherweight boxing quarters

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BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan once again will return empty-handed in boxing as its last medal hope Ilyas Hussain’s journey in the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday also ended when he went down to Jude Gallagher of Northern Ireland 0-5 in the men’s featherweight quarter-finals here at the National Exhibition Centre.

Jude started with an attack but Ilyas retaliated with a side-way punch. Both the fighters were of even height. After a hard struggle, in the last few seconds they exchanged some nasty punches.

In the second round again, almost an even fight was held but Jude was more clever and he put Ilyas in his own game. Ilyas made frantic efforts to get points but the Irish defended it well.

In the third round both fighters were seen locked mostly and Ilyas tried to go outside the way but Jude kept running and running away from the Pakistani fighter and was able to seal the win through a unanimous decision.

“I am very happy that I won two bouts on my debut. And I think God has credited me for the work I have done,” Ilyas told this correspondent after his loss.

“I was under pressure. I conceded points in the first two rounds and in the third I wanted to go all out but he was very clever and kept running and running,” Ilyas said.

He said that he would work harder and win medals for the country in future.

Ilyas’s coach Arshad Hussain was also happy with his overall performance in the event.

“I have not seen any boy playing such a good game on his debut event. He is a gutsy boy and we should invest in him but it will not be possible without state help. The Irish was an accomplished fighter and Ilyas is too young and will have to learn a lot,” said Arshad, also a former Olympian and Commonwealth Games medallist.

Ilyas had begun his journey with a win over Lesotho’s Moroke Mokhoto in the round of 32. He then defeated Anthony Joseph of Trinidad and Tobago 3-2 to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Pakistan’s other boxers Suleman Baloch, Nazeerullah Khan and Mehreen Baloch fell at the first hurdles while Zohaib Rasheed was missed in the draws and so he could not compete in the event.

Pakistan last had claimed a medal in the Commonwealth Games when the now professional fighter Mohammad Waseem had snared silver in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

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