Asian boxing champion Suranjoy Singh won a close bout against Shahriyor Isakov of Uzbekistan 4-2 to move into the semifinals of the 52kg section in the Asian Games here on Saturday.

It was an impressive performance from Suranjoy as he broke through the tight defence of his opponent to land those crucial punches.

Vijender Singh also moved into the semifinals with a 13-2 victory over Deokjin Cho of Korea in the 75kg class at the Foshan Gymnasium.

With four boxers already making the semifinals, Indian boxing would definitely improve on the two bronze medals won through Vijender and Varghese Johnson in the last edition at Doha.

Indeed it was difficult for Suranjoy to break free from the onrushing opponent — as suggested by the Cuban coach of the Indian team B.I. Fernandes — to have the space to unleash his punches.

Yet, Suranjoy came up with the combination punches to get the odd one through. Suranjoy led 2-0 early in the second round, after having opened his account at the fag end of the first, but the Uzbek was able to get one back right on target to open his scoring. Suranjoy made it safe with another punch to lead 3-1.

Flurry of punches

Into the fourth round, Suranjoy stepped up the tempo with a flurry of punches and got his right to pierce through the Uzbek's defence for a 4-1 lead.

In trying to score further, Suranjoy could not avoid the Uzbek's left, but with time running out, victory was sealed. In the semifinals, Suranjoy will meet Chang Yong of China on November 24.

Comparatively, Olympic and world championship medallist, Vijender was able to break through the defence of the Korean with conviction, as the latter did not have the punch in his fist this day to worry him.

In fact, the two points the Korean had was credited through a warning for ‘holding' given to Vijender midway through the second round when the Indian had already taken a 7-0 lead. Actually, Vijender also got two points when he received a painful ‘below the belt' punch for which he was given a count to recover breathe and two points, while his opponent was warned.

Using his height, Vijender was able to land quick punches, mainly with his right, and he had to resort to dropping his guard and teasing his opponent early on when scoring was not that easy.

Cruising along

After leading 3-0 in the first round, Vijender raced to 9-2 in the second and cruised along happily to 13-2 by the finish, moving out of the odd menacing swings of his opponent with alacrity.

“I was confident of winning today, as I had beaten him twice before. He had also beaten me once,” said Vijender who will meet Mohammad Sattarpour of Iran in the semifinals.

“He has beaten me and I am looking for sweet revenge,” said Vijender.

In two other bouts, Amandeep Singh made the quarterfinals of the 49kg category with an 11-0 victory over Muhamad Waseem of Pakistan, but Dilbag Singh lost the 69kg pre-quarterfinals 8-0 to Omar Mamedshayev of Turkmenistan.

Waseem expressed surprise about the scoring system by saying that his numerous punches did not fetch him any point. There will be a lot more to look up to for Indian boxing from Sunday, when the women's competition opens with five-time world champion Mary Kom spearheading the Indian challenge.

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