During practice, boxers never work on knockout punches. They practice for power, accuracy, speed, stamina and skill. Nor do boxers train to get knocked out. It just happens. One punch – powerful and, of course, accurate directed at the most vulnerable part of the body — is all that’s needed.
Vijender Singh packed such a punch on Sunday. His left hook came crashing on the right temple of Elias Nashivela of Namibia, his head moved to the left, and he was knocked out in just 82 seconds. And mind you, Vijender has a lethal right too.
Even before a delirious crowd started to warm itself up for the three-round bout, Vijender saw an opening when Nashivela went on the offensive with a left-right combination, and landed his sledgehammer. It sent the Namibian crashing to the canvas. The 24-year-old Olympic bronze medallist, who is the world best boxer in 75kg category, knew that it was enough. He raised his hands, gave the crowd a big smile, and walked back to his corner.
The referee, the closest man to the fight, seeing the ferocity of the blow did not even care to count. “It just happened,” said Vijender. “No practice can ensure a knockout punch. Every boxer knows that. I just happened to see an opening and I went for it.”
As for the day, India couldn’t have asked for more. With seven boxers storming into the medal round, this is the best show India has come up with in the history of the Commonwealth Games.
Earlier, Manoj Kumar, fighting in his first Games, showed some swagger. With confidence, Manoj stepped into the ring, gauged his opponent with a few jabs and then went on the offensive, hitting the target with alarming regularity.
Even Jai Bhagwan was clinical. He gave Waheed Sogbamu no chance to in a 10-0 win. Then it was Dilbagh’s turn to comfortably go through 11-3, against Moabi Mothiba, in 69kg.
However, the day was not Akhil’s as he lost to Olympic bronze medallist Bruno Julie of Mauritius 5-7 in a very close fight. Though Akhil tried to stay away from the southpaw’s left hooks, he seemed a little tired after his fabulous win against Iain Weaver on Saturday night. “It was his day today,” was what a disappointed Akhil said.
In a late night bout, Paramjit Samota beat Alexey Mukhin of Australia 7-4 to ensure his maiden medal in Commonwealth Games medal.
Amandeep Singh (49kg) and Suranjoy Singh (51kg) have already booked their berths in the semis.