Bhagwan, Vijender advance in style

Jai Bhagwan and Vijender Singh struck a positive note for India at the Olympic Games boxing ring as they strove to put behind Shiva Thapa’s early exit.

Boxer Vijender Singh and Kazakstan's Dan Suzhanov during their 75kg bout of the 2012 London Olympic Games on Saturday. PTI

A few hours after Thapa exited in the 56kg category first round on Saturday, Vijender defeated Kazakhs­tan’s Danabek Sukhanov to enter the second round of the 75kg class.

Bhagwan, fighting in the 60kg class, advanced to the second round on Sunday, outplaying Seychelles Andrique Allisop 18-8.

At the ExCel arena, Bhagwan expertly exploited Allisop’s weaknesses to ran out a comfortable winner. He attacked with vigour and defended well, taking good leads in each of the three rounds to outgun his rival.

“My only plan was to win today,” said Bhagwan. “I was nervous at the start as I was not sure how my opponent will play. But I got a good lead initially and that boosted my confidence in the subsequent rounds,” he added.

Bhagwan will next play fifth seed Gani Zhailauov of Kazakhstan and that should be a tough encounter, going by their past record.

“We have a 1-1 record but this time I want to put the record straight,” said the 27-year-old.

The Kazakh boxer had defeated Bhagwan at the World Championships in Baku last year, and went on to win the bronze medal. The Indian’s victory came at the Asian Championships three years ago, when he had won the silver medal. 

Against Allisop, Bhagwan was in command throughout. He made his point early with a solid right and then ducked swiftly before launching a straight right that rattled his rival. He closed the round leading 7-3. The second round saw Bhagwan inflicting more punishment to surge to a 14-6 lead before taking it easy in the final round.

On Saturday, Vijender boxed to a plan to emerge a 14-10 winner in a tough contest.
“I am  happy to give my boxing team its first win, now it’s on to the next challenge," said Vijendar while coach G S Sandhu admitted it was a tough examination.

“Vijender  is a seasoned boxer but let us not forget this is Olympics and world’s best are  participating. Every bout is going to be tough,” said India’s coach G S Sandhu.

Vijender will now take on Terrell Gausha of USA in the pre-quarters on August 2.
Gausha  thrashed  Andranik Hukobyan of Armenia in his first round bout on Saturday.

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