Vijender Singh storms into world boxing semi-finals


Vijender Singh

The world number two and top seed Vijender out-punched Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko 12-4 late last night to become the first Indian to make the last-four stage of the prestigious event.

"I am on cloud nine...it's a feeling that cannot be described in words. I have broken another jinx for India and I am very happy," the 23-year-old who won India's maiden Olympic medal -- a bronze -- in Beijing last year, said from Milan.

Vijender is now up against former light heavy weight world champion Abbos Atoev, who returned to middle weight this year, but the Indian can draw confidence from the fact that he beat the Uzbek as recently as the Asian Championships in June in China.

"I always believe that one should never get intimidated by the opponent, it hampers the performance. So, I am not even thinking about his past record. After all, what matters is how I perform in those 11 minutes when we are competing," he said.

Talking about his bout, the Khel Ratna awardee said he measured his opponent in the opening round which ended 1-1 before going for all-out attack in the next two rounds.

Vijender, a strapping six footer, also had the height advantage against his much shorter rival. The Indian began to take control of the proceedings with his trademark left straights and uppercuts to end the second round 5-3.

He went on the offensive in the final round and didn't let his opponent breach his defence even once to round off the last three minutes 6-0.

"I had never even seen this guy before. I was just told that he is a good boxer so I observed him in the first round. Once I got a hang of his technique, I just fought from long range and made good use of my height," Vijender said.

National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu lavished praise on the Haryana boxer.
"The composure with which he competes is remarkable. He hardly loses his cool and even in moments that can make one nervous, he seems in control," he said.

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