The song jatta da chora might be a huge chartbuster in Haryana but few have heard of it in the Capital. On Saturday, as Vijender Singh walked towards the boxing arena, the few hundred seated at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium swayed to the beat of this rustic number.
The magic of this Bhiwani boy was felt in every corner and when he took to the ring, the crowd went berserk. So did he, in the ring, with hooks and uppercuts, ducks and jabs. His Malaysian opponent, Md Haron, lasted just two rounds before the referee stopped the contest with the score at 5-0 at the XXX Commonwealth Boxing Championship. With Saturday’s win, the Olympic bronze medallist cruised into the semifinals and assured himself a medal.
World No. 1 Vijender took just over five minutes to wrap up the middleweight category bout. As always, he started cautiously, gauging his opponent.
By the time he got the measure of his reach, he unleashed his trademark flurry of combinations to open up the Malaysian.
His right hooks were timed to perfection after softening up with his left jabs. His powerful uppercuts, though sparingly used, fetched him a point in the first round. However, it was his body blows that had maximum impact. And a few uppercuts in the second round clinched it.
“A win like this doesn’t let you get a good feel of the ring or improve your footwork. However, I am happy with my performance today and hope to win a gold now,” said Vijender, who also spoke about his preparations for the bout.
“Dinesh (Kumar) had played my opponent before so I took his help. I guess our plans were well executed and I am very happy with the way I fought.”
Other Indians too ruled the day with Asian champions Suranjoy Singh (52kg) and World Cup bronze medallist Dinesh Kumar (81kg) advancing to semifinals in their respective categories with thumping victories.
Suranjoy thrashed Kenyan Benson Gicharu 14-2 in the fly 52kg, while Dinesh outclassed Reece Papuni of New Zealand in the lightweight 81kg.
“It was a good fight but I was not able to move much in the final round. My body was feeling tight and I wasn’t able to throw many punches then,” said Suranjoy.
Another Indian, Dilbag Singh, fought hard but lost 4-5 to Callum Smith of England in the welter 69kg.