London, Jul 29: India's top boxer Vijender Singh kept his reputation as a strong medal contender intact by sailing into the middleweight (75kg) pre-quarterfinals in the Olympics with a comfortable win over Kazakhstan's Danabek Sukhanov here.
The 26-year-old, a bronze-medallist in the Beijing Games four years ago, was a trifle cautious in the first round, preferring to gauge his opponent's strategy but opened up subsequently to carve out a comfortable 14-10 verdict late Saturday night.
"I am delighted to make it through to the next round, he was a tough opponent and now its on to the next challenge," said the 26-year-old. "I want to go home with a different coloured medal this time," he added.
The Haryana boxer was tactically superior than his opponent and also put his reach to good use to keep himself on course for a second Olympic medal. Although he was generally defensive in the first round, Vijender did unleash a few of his trademark straight punches to take the honours with a 5-4 margin. Vijender, who also won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Championship, had a decisive edge in the first round. He put up a more dominating show in the second round which he clinched with a 4-3 verdict and consolidated his position in the third and final round to eventually emerge victorious without really being under any serious pressure.
The Kazakh did manage to score points against the Indian but never really looked like springing a major surprise. Vijender will now take on Terrell Gausha of USA in the pre-quarters on August 2. Gausha got the better of Andranik Hukobyan of Armenia in the opening round with referee stopping contest.