Beats Danabek Suzhanov of Kazakhstan 14-10; Jai Bhagwan too advances
Vijender Singh opened his campaign with a well-earned 14-10 victory over Danabek Suzhanov of Kazakhstan in the middleweight boxing (75kg) at the Excel Arena on Saturday.
It was the first win for India after Shiva Thapa’s defeat.
The world and olympic medallist, looking to better his record, led in each of the three rounds to assert his readiness for the challenges ahead. He was 5-4 ahead after the first round, and 9-7 in the second before enhancing the lead by two more points.
The 26-year-old Vijender, quite sharp in the ring, was happy to beat a quality opponent with a strong performance. He hoped to continue in the same vein and that London would be lucky for him.
“I have got an Olympic bronze, and I hope to do better here,” Vijender said.
Suzhanov praised the compact style of Vijender and said that he was not ready to fight such a good boxer straightaway.
“He was more precise. I could have done better,” said the Kazakh, who was not amused about Vijender punching the air after the bout. ‘In Kazakhstan, we do not punch the air after a bout,” he said.
In the pre-quarterfinal on August 2, Vijender will meet Terrell Gausha of the US, who beat Andranik Hakobyan of Armenia as the referee stopped the contest in the third round.
If his form holds good, Vijender could run into two-time world champion Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals. That is, if the Uzbek makes it past third-seeded Bogdan Juratoni of Romania.
It may be recalled that Vijender had beaten Atoev without conceding a point in the Asian Games final in Guangzhou. He may thus be meeting a wounded tiger.
Coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said that Vijender had fought cautiously as it was a tough bout.
“Vijender is a seasoned boxer, but let us not forget this is the Olympics. Every bout will be tough,” said Sandhu.
Indian boxer Jai Bhagwan produced a dominating performance to storm into the pre-quarterfinals of the lightweight (60kg) category.
Participating in his maiden Olympics at the age of 26, Bhagwan was in complete control of the bout from the onset as he thrashed his opponent Andrique Allisop of Seychelles 18-8 in the opening round at the Excel arena. “I was very relaxed and looking forward to the fight,” said Bhagwan.
Bhagwan enjoyed a better reach because of his height and technically also, the Indian was far superior than his Seychelles opponent. Bhagwan was equally sound in defense as well as attack and took control over proceedings with identical scorelines of 7-3 in the first two rounds.
Leading 14-6 in the third round, Bhagwan adopted a cautious approach, but never let go his grip over the bout, pocketing the decider with a 4-2 margin. Bhagwan will now face Gani Zhailauov of Kazakhstan in the pre-quarterfinals on August 2.