Moscow: They are gunning for gold but the task seems easier said than done as the Indian boxing quartet of Akhil Kumar, Jitender Kumar, AL Lakra and Dinesh Kumar brace up for a face-off with traditional powerhouses Cuba and Russia in the semi-finals of the AIBA World Cup in Moscow on Saturday.
"It's Cuba vs India in the semis but we are confident of doing well. All of us are fully fit and raring to go," Akhil (54kg), who faces Olympic silver medallist Yankiel Leon Alarcon, said.
Jitender (51kg) and Lakra (57kg) are also up against Cubans Hernandez Lafita and Idel Torriente respectively, while Dinesh (81kg) faces Russian Artur Beterbiev.
The quartet has already made history at the event by ensuring an unprecedented four bronze medals, besides a prize money of $2,500 each. Their sensational performance has put India on the tied third spot in the overall standings behind Russia and Cuba.
Akhil, Jitender, Lakra and Dinesh have also combined to match the Cubans in the points-per-boxer-average due to the high scores they have so far managed.
Oozing confidence ahead of the big day, the quartet is taking it easy on the rest day to not let pressure build on them.
"We can't keep thinking about how big these bouts are. It's all about remaining calm. Our coaches -- GS Sandhu and Jaidev Bisht -- have worked really hard on us. Let's see how things pan out tomorrow," the 27-year-old Akhil said.
The diminutive counter-puncher, would be banking heavily on his speed and experience against the Cuban, who is also a Pan-American Games bronze medallist.
If he wins on Saturday, Akhil may just end up in a final showdown with world champion and local favourite Sergey Vodopyanov, whom he beat by a point on countback to reach quarters in Beijing.
Vodopyanov is up against Beijing bronze medallist Veceaslav Gojan, the Moldovan who stunned Akhil in the Olympic quarter-finals.
Jitender's task is no easier as he too is up against the Olympic silver medallist. Hernandez is also a Pan-American Games gold medallist.
"One has to remain focussed. I am not scared by my opponent's reputation. In fact I couldn't care less. You can't let yourself get intimidated by all this," the 22-year-old, who fought with 11 stitches during his Olympic quarter-final loss, said.
Lakra, on the other hand, is yet to set foot inside the ring. A wildcard entrant, he got a walkover in the quarter-finals and will face Pan-American Championship gold medallist Torriente.
Torriente has already made quite an impact in the event, beating 2007 World Championship bronze medallist Yang Li in the quarter-finals.
The youngest member of the Indian quartet, the 20-year-old Dinesh impressed in his win over Algerian Abdelhafid Benchbala, who beat him in the first round of Beijing Olympics.
But next up for him is Beterbiev, the 2007 World Championship silver medallist and a 2006 European champion.