The Indian boxing contingent at the 2012 London Olympics suffered a major setback in the men’s event as India’s top pugilist Vijender Singh (75kg) ended up on the losing end of his quarter-final bout against former world champion Uzbekistan’s Abbos Atoev at the packed Excel Arena on Monday (6 Aug 2012).
After MC Mary Kom exceptional display earlier in the day, where she assured herself of at least a bronze medal finish after storming into the semi-finals of women’s fly weight division, all eyes were on Vijender to guarantee India it’s second medal in boxing. The Haryana lad, who got the better of the Uzbek boxer in their last meeting at the 2010 Asian Games, put up a brave performance, but in the end came up short against a more resolute Atoev. Vijender, a Beijing Olympic bronze medallist beat Terrell Gausha of the USA in what was a hard fought victory in the round of 16.
In the round of eight both the boxers started slow, waiting for the other to make the move. The first round ended with the scores knotted at 3 all. In the second, although the Indian landed some cracking straight punches, Atoev was almost always up to mark with his definite counter attacks. Vijender could not get inside and render as much damage as he would have like to because of the Uzbek’s solid infighting. By the end of the first six minutes of play Atoev had opened up a two point advantage at 10:7. The beginning of the third and Atoev consolidated his lead with a cracking right hook. Vijender tried hard to make a comeback but could not find a way to break the Uzbek’s strategic play. The 26 year olds dream of becoming the first Individual Indian athlete to win two successive Olympic medals came to an end with a 13:17 loss.
The lone Indian boxer left in the fray at the men’s event, Laishram Devendro Singh (49kg) will be seen in action on Wednesday (8 Aug 2012) along with the five time world Champion Mary Kom (51kg) in the women’s event. While Devendro takes on Beijing Olympic bronze medallist and 2010 Commonwealth Games Champion Patrick Barnes of Ireland, Kom will lock horns with against Briton Nicola Adams, a three time World Championship silver medallist.