London: India’s ace boxer Vijender Singh was knocked out of the 2012 London Games after he went down 13-17 to Uzbek Abbos Atoev in the quarterfinal of the men’s 75kg at the ExCel Arena here late Monday night.
Vijender, a Beijing Games bronze medalist, was on the verge of creating history by becoming the only individual Indian athlete to win two Olympic medals. A place in the semi-final would have assured him of at least a bronze like it did four years ago in Beijing.
But, in London, the script unfolded in a different way. Vijender was not aggressive or tactical as he had been in the last two matches.
Having being beaten by Vijender 7-0 in the final of the 2010 Asian Games, the Uzbek was determined to take revenge this time.
The two boxers took time to measure up to each other in the first round that finished at 3-3.
The crowd was completely behind the Indian as chants of “jitega jitega India jitega” reverberated at the ExCel Arena.
In the second round, the Indian was slow off the blocks that allowed Atoev to take a two point lead by winning the round 7-5. Atoev’s made his flurry of punches count and Vijender also hit back with an upper cut that imbalanced the Uzbek.
The Uzbek was more tactical in the second round that helped him to stretch his lead. Vijender with his left-hook tried to get inside Atoev’s defense but luck was simply not on his side.
In the third and the final round, Atoev displayed some lovely defensive skills as Vijender ran out of steam.
Vijender gots his left hooks going but Atoev didn’t provide easy opportunities. The Uzbek danced down the ring and scored his points off the counter attack, dashing Vijender’s hopes of a second Olympic medal.
Earlier in the day, five-time women’s world champion M.C.Mary Kom assured India a medal after she booked a place in the semi-finals.
India’s chances of a boxing medal from the men’s event are still alive as L.Devendro Singh is in the quarterfinal.