The poster boy of Indian boxing Vijender Singh failed in his bid make history by becoming the country’s first athlete to win back-to-back Olympic medals when he went down 13-17 to Uzbekistan’s Abbos Atoev in the quarter-finals of the London Games on late on Monday night.
The 26-year-old Beijing Olympic bronze-winning Middleweight (75 kg) boxer then made a startling revelation claiming he now planned to change his weight category to light heavy (81 kg). “I have been fighting in 75 kg for the last six years or so. I will now shift to 81 kg. I hope to perform well in this new category and do well for India in the next Olympics,” Vijender said.
On his defeat to Atoev, Vijender said, “I gave 100 per cent but it was bad luck that I could not win. I gave it all but could not win. He is a very good boxer. I did make some mistakes which cost me. But in sport, it happens.
“You win some, you lose some. If I get a chance to meet him again, I will try not to make the same mistakes. As a boxer, you learn from every bout and you should not repeat the same mistakes.”
The two boxers took time to measure up to each other in the first round that finished 3-3. The crowd totally backed the Indian with chants of ‘jitega, jitega, India jitega’ reverberating the ExCel Arena.
In the second round though, the Indian was slow off the blocks and that allowed Atoev to take a two point lead by winning the round 7-5. Vijender said he pulled a muscle in his back in the second round. “I pulled my back muscle in the second round but I will take treatment for it and should be alright soon,” he said.
Atoev made his flurry of punches count and Vijender also hit back with an upper cut that disbalanced the Uzbek.
However, Atoev was more tactical in the second round and that helped stretch his lead.
In the third and the final round, Atoev displayed some fine defensive skills as Vijender got offensive in a bid to make up for the points deficit. However, it didn’t work as the Uzbek danced down the ring and scored points off the counter attack to take Round Three 7-5.