AP/PTI
Vijender Into Semis As 5 Indian Boxers Assured of Medals

Star boxer Vijender Singh punched his way into the semifinals assuring himself of a medal after four other Indian pugilists assured themselves of at least a bronze each in the 20th Commonwealth Games here today.

Vijender outclassed Trinidad and Tobago's Aaron Prince in men's 75kg category.

The 2008 Olympic bronze medallist won 3-0 on points in an unanimous decision of the three judges.

The first round was a bit subdued with both the boxers trying to get a measure of each other. Vijender played a bit defensively and Prince attacked more.

One judge out of three gave 10-9 points to Finch while the other two gave in favour of Vijender with identical scores.

In the second round though, Vijender's flurry of punches landed on his opponent who was in difficulty to fend them off. A straight jab and then a right hook punch from Vijender rattled Finch. The tempo continued in the third round and Vijender won comfortably at the end.

Earlier, experienced Laishram Sarita Devi and young Pinki Jangra reached the semifinals of the women's light (57-60kg) and 51kg boxing competition respectively.

World No. 3 L Devendro Singh outclassed Aqeel Ahmed of Scotland to advance to the medal round and so was Mandeep Jangra.

Sarita Devi, the 32-year-old from Manipur, came from behind to outsmart Charlene Jones of Wales 3-1 in a hard-fought quarterfinal bout. She will next take on Mozambique's Maria Machongua in the semifinals on Friday.

Pinki, who had beaten Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom in the national trials to make it to the Indian CWG team, outclassed her Papua New Guinea opponent Jacquiline Wangi in a unanimous 3-0 decision by the judges in the semifinal bout.

In men's 69kg division, young Indian boxer Mandeep Jangra also assured himself of a bronze in his debut Commonwealth Games by advancing to the semifinals after his opponent failed the medical test ahead of their quarterfinal bout.

The Asian Championships silver-medallist, who has won two rounds so far in the event, will now be up against the winner of the clash between Canadian Custio Clayton and Northern Ireland's Steven Donnelly.

The 21-year-old, a protege of former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Akhil Kumar, was declared the winner after his rival, Daniel Lewis of Australia, failed to get the doctor's clearance to fight due to a cut above his eye sustained during the pre-quarterfinals.

In another quarterfinals of men's 91Kg category, India's Amritpreet Singh suffered a 0-3 loss to Stephen Lavelle of Scotland.

In the women's light (57-60kg) quarterfinals, Sarita was lagging behind after the first round as Jones started the proceeding with a perfect 10 from each of the three judges.

But the Indian soon got her act together as she outwitted the Wales pugilist 30-27 in the second, before edging her out by an identical margin of 29-28 in the third and fourth rounds to bring joy to the Indian camp.

Vijender later said that he had to change his tactic midway into the bout and had to be more aggressive.

"I changed my tactics midway in the bout. In the first round I was trying to play a bit defensively. But he kept on coming and so I had to change my tactics and become aggressive," he said.

"It is all about doing right things during the bout. I took some punches from my opponent but it was all about boxing. You get hit. I am getting better and hope I win gold."

Sarita Devi, after her lightweight quarter-finals victory against Charlene Jones, said, "I want to win this for India and for my son. I have not seen him for five months now because I have been training with the Indian team and I miss him so much. During pregnancy I was 85kg and after my baby was born my husband gave me his full support."

On assuring herself of a medal, she said, "I want to dedicate my medal to all the people of India."

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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