The punch was lacking and so was the fire in the belly, or so it seemed at the Foshan Arena on Wednesday. The sight of five-time world champion, MC Marykom, in a last ditch effort to salvage things, Suranjoy 'Chhota Tyson' Singh sobbing inconsolably on coach Gurbux Singh's shoulder or Paramjit Samota beaten all ends up, was not pleasing.
Though Vikas Krishna (60kg) and Dinesh Kumar (81kg) lifted the gloom somewhat, beating their opponents 7-0 and 7-1 respectively, the showpiece semifinal bouts were a huge disappointment.
Marykom was fast but, more than applying herself, she seemed in a hurry to end the bout. She forgot that patience is a virtue and kept on spraying punches, not knowing where they were landing.
The 11-7 verdict in favour of China's Ren Cancan was an indication that it is application more than brute strength which works. A bronze is not expected from a five-time world champ, but on Wednesday, Marykom was not gunning for gold.
Suranjoy, the pocket-sized 52kg boxer, spawned hope against home favourite Chang Yong in the semifinal. But the first round proved to be his nemesis. The Manipuri did not go for the jugular and was soon trailing 0-3. The second round saw him pack a punch and he even led 4-3 before the Chinese hit back with a couple of straight punches to take a 5-4 lead.
Suranjoy tried hard in the last two rounds but his punches did not make an impact, prompting Indian supporters to allege that the Chinese was being favoured.
Suranjoy tried his best to push his opponent on the back-foot but the vociferous home crowd and some debatable points saw him settle for a bronze.
The Indian camp even wanted to protest the judges' decision but realizing the futility, shelved the idea. “There is no point in protesting. In a contact sport like boxing, you can't get any judgement,” said Indian Boxing Federation secretary-general, PK Muralidharan Raja.
“Suranjoy did not attack in the first round, it is difficult to catch up from that situation,” said coach Sandhu, adding, that “home advantage worked in Yong's favour. Even the judges came under pressure with the crowd rooting for the home team boxer,” said Sandhu.
The plight of Samota was different. The CWG champion in the +91kg category was pitted against a seven-foot tall giant from China, Zhang Zhilei.
A Beijing Olympic Games silver-medallist, Zhang was fast, his footwork amazing and anticipation outstanding. In no time, he was leading 4-0 in the first round, adding more points in the second before the knockout punches came in the third and final rounds, which forced the referee to give Samota three mandatory counts before stopping the contest.