Beijing Olympic bronze medallist and India’s top pugilist Vijender Singh advanced into the quarter-final stage of the 2012 Olympics after a hard fought victory in the round of 16 at the Excel arena in London on Thursday (2 Aug 2012). The 26 year old from Haryana playing his third Olympics, edged past Terrell Gausha of the United States of America, with his intelligent play and shrewd strategy, in what was a nail biting finish.
Gausha, who had done his homework on Vijender, started aggressively setting the tempo of the bout. The American with his fast hands and quick ring movement seemed to be getting the better of Singh, but the Indian was quick to reply with some fierce attacks of his own.††The Guangzhou Asian Games gold medallist took a crucial one point lead at the end of the first round (4:3), which ultimately turned out to be the deciding factor. The American changed his strategy in the second round and started fighting from the centre of the ring. There was not much separating the two boxers with both exchanging some good combinations and managing to bag 5 points apiece. In the final round, a loud roar from the crowd greeted the two fighters to the canvas. This time it was Vijender who opted to change his approach; with a lot of ring movement he gave himself space to plan his attacks and kept coming in strongly with his straight right and left jabs. But Terrell was up to the task and maintained the pace with his own counter attacks. In the end though, it was Vijender who managed to scrape through to the next round of the middle weight division, with a total score of 16:15. He will now take on his old rival, former World Champion and Asian Games silver medallist Abbos Atoev from Uzbekistan on Monday (6 Aug 2012) for a place in the semi-final. Vijender leads 2:1 in the head to head record against the Uzbek boxer. Last time the two met at the 2010 Asian Games in the finals and the Indian registered a thumping victory with a score of 7 nil.
Earlier in the day, the Indian camp suffered a setback as Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Jai Bhagwan (60kg) crashed out of the Olympics after losing out in the pre- quarter finals of the light weight class. The 27 year suffered defeat at the hands of Gani Zhailauov of Kazakhstan in what turned out to be a one sided affair in the end (8:16)
World Championship bronze medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg), the only Indian boxer to have gotten a bye in the opening round, will open his Olympic campaign against Errol Spence of USA in the welter weight class, in the evening session on Friday (3 Aug 2012).†