Vijender falls at first hurdle, Jai through to Rd2 of WC

New Delhi: Olympic hero Vijender Singh was on Saturday ousted in the very first round, upstaged by his Cuban nemesis Emilio Correa Bayeux, but Jai Bhagwan entered the second round on a mixed day for Indian boxers at the World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Vijender, a bronze-medallist at the previous World Championships in Milan and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, lost 9-16 to Bayeux in the opening bout of the 75kg middleweight category.

Bayeux had beaten the Asian Games gold-medallist Indian in the Olympic semifinals before a hand injury took away almost a year from him.

"Bayeux kept a shell guard in the first round and scored through occassional uppercuts. That spoilt the bout for us. Besides he managed to connect a very powerful uppercut in the final round which resulted in an eight count for Vijender," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI from Baku.

"Bayeux managed to score in the final minute because of that even though Vijender did manage to recover and hold his own," he added.

The loss means that the seventh-seeded Indian will have to wait till next year`s Asian Olympic qualifiers to make the cut for the London Games as he needed to reach at least the quarterfinals to qualify from the ongoing event.

But Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Jai Bhagwan thrashed Evaldas Petrauskas of Lithuania to enter the second round. Jai beat Petrauskas, a Youth Olympics gold-medallist, 15-8 to enter the second round where he will take on Czech Miroslav Serban. Serban beat Nuwan Thennakoon of Sri Lanka 16-10 in his opening bout.

Vijender, who has slipped from top to number eight in the world rankings, was trailing from the start, finishing the opening round 1-4 down.

It was always going to be an uphill battle for the Indian from there on and though Vijender fought back in the second round, Bayeux managed to retain the lead and make it 9-5 in his favour.

The Cuban did most of his scoring in the final three minutes, notching seven points against the Indian`s four to wrap up a rather easy win.

However, Jai ensured that India had something to cheer about with his win in the afternoon session.

The experienced 26-year-old changed his strategy in every round of the bout, wearing down his 19-year-old opponent.

"It was a very tough bout, but Jai gave a perfect performance. In the first round, he withstood the flurry of body blows and wild hooks that Petrauskas came up with and dominated thereafter," said Sandhu.

Jai clinched the second round 7-3 to make it 9-5 in the overall scoreline, a cushion that helped him seal the issue comfortably in the end.

"The strategy changed with every round. Jai gained in confidence in the second round and waited for Petrauskas to attack. He sometimes fought on counter-attack and that frustrated Petrauskas," said Sandhu.

Sunday , Suranjoy faces Mongolian Nyambayar Tugstsogt in the second round of the flyweight (52kg) division.

Suranjoy will have revenge on mind when he takes on Tugstsogt as the Mongolian had beaten him by just a point, that too on countback, in the opening round of the previous World Championships.

Also, Manoj Kumar (64kg) would be up against reigning European champion and fourth seed Raymond Moylette of Ireland.

In the welterweight (69kg) division, Vikas Krishan will face seventh seed Mohamed Nurudzinau of Belarus in his second round bout. Nurudzinau was a silver-medallist at this year`s European Confederation Boxing championships.

In the light heavyweight (81kg) category, 12th seed Dinesh Kumar will square off against Bosko Draskovic of Macedonia in his second-round bout.


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