Indian boxers pack a punch in packed Talkatora | india | Hindustan Times
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Indian boxers pack a punch in packed Talkatora

india Updated: Oct 05, 2010 17:43 IST
Amandeep Singh

Adoring home fans brought the house down by cheering their lungs out as Indian boxers opened their campaign in style with Amandeep Singh (49kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) advancing to the pre-quarterfinals, following thumping wins in their opening bouts of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Tuesday.

An almost packed Talkatora Stadium cheered lustily for every blow Amandeep and Manoj landed making it a day to remember for the Indian boxing team, which by its own admission, is not used to fighting in front of so many spectators on the very first day of a competition.

While Commonwealth Championships gold-medallist Amandeep defeated Kenya's Peter Warui 6-2 for the second successive time this year, Manoj was so dominant against Sirrera Leone's Daniel Lassoyo that the referee had to award the bout to the Indian midway through the second round when he was leading 17-1.

Amandeep will next face Rawanda's Haziza Matusi and Manoj will now square off against Gomotsang Gaasite of Botswana.

Crowds may not have exactly warmed up to the other Games events but boxing pulled in the spectators on the very first day so much so that even the announcement of an Indian referee or judge got as big a cheer as an Indian boxer's arrival.

And the men who took the ring did not disappoint either by putting on a power-packed performance to ensure that the crowds would look forward to more when established stars such as Vijender Singh (75kg) and Akhil Kumar (56kg) start their campaigns in the next couple of days.

Amandeep was the first boxer to step in and against an opponent he had defeated as recently as in the Commonwealth Championships in March, the Indian was confidence personified.

Unruffled by Warui's often wild attack, Amandeep kept his cool and tactfully exploited the Kenyan's weak defence.

It was a narrow 2-1 lead in the opening three minutes but Amandeep ensured that he never let it slip with his strong left-hand blows in the next two rounds to notch up a comfortable win.

"Since I had played him before, I knew that it was easy to get past him if I get a lead, which I got in the first round. He was down and tried to attack too much. I am quick on my feet and that also helped," Amandeep said after what he described as a rather "easy" first day in office.

"The crowd made it all the more easy for me. It was amazing to fight in front of such supportive spectators," he added, when asked whether the fans contributed to his win.

If Amandeep was about tact and composure, Manoj took the attack to Lassoyo with a combination of right uppercuts and body blows.