After Friday’s heartbreaking episode of Vikas Krishan, young Devendro Singh brought some happiness back to the Indian boxing camp. Vikas Krishan had been initially declared the winner but he had to bow out as the decision was overruled following protests.
But the way Devendro outpunched his fancied opponent on Saturday, the Indian camp could be rest assured a Vikas Krishan incident won’t happen this time. Devendro outclassed the former world champion and Beijing Olympics silver medallist Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia 16-11 to cruse into the quarterfinal of the 49kg weight division.
After winning his opening bout in just over two minutes, Devendro took the ring in style. His confidence was such that he dominated the tie from the beginning and maintained the tempo right till the end. In the first round he took a one point lead (4-3) and stretched it to three points after the second round (12-9).
“I had seen the Mongolian boxer’s previous fights. So I knew he was going to be very aggressive. To counter him, I became aggressive and kept attacking right till the end. It worked for me and eventually I won the bout by a good margin,” said Devendro after the bout.
Now he will face another Beijing Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes of Ireland in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Barnes won bronze in Beijing and gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
So, will there be a lot of pressure on the 19-year-old Manipuri when he takes on these Olympic medallists one after another? “When I am in the ring, I don’t care about my opponent,” said Devendro. “They have won the medals in the past and I am eyeing the one in the present. So, it doesn’t matter whether my opponent is an Olympic medallist or a world champion. I am already waiting for the bout to happen,” he said.
Chief coach GS Sandhu was effusive in praise. “He has played above our expectations. The way he was moving in the ring, it never looked like that he was facing an Olympic medallist. He was really brilliant.”