New Delhi, May 15: Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh returned to the ring in style, storming into the semi-finals of the European Grand Prix boxing event in Usti Nad Labem, Czech Republic, along with three other Indians.
Vijender, competing in his first event after Beijing, defeated P Trikaliotis of Greece in just two rounds to assure himself of at least a bronze medal in the tournament, which is into its 40th edition this year.
The 23-year-old middle weight boxer landed such a severe blow on his opponent in the second round that the referee had to stop the bout before declaring Trikaliotis unfit to fight last night.
"It was an easy one for me. I was meeting him for the first time. He is a left-hander with a tight defence but I managed to land a big one and even though he wasn't knocked out, his legs were shaking and the referee had to stop the contest," Vijender said from Usti Nad Labem.
"This is the first time I competed in the three rounds of three minutes each format (introduced this year). I am learning to adjust to it. There are good things about it and some drawbacks as well which I will discuss after the tournament," he added.
Meanwhile, Manoj Kumar (64kg) registered a similarly brutal win over Scotland's J Thain.
"One of Manoj's punches resulted in a cut on Thain's nose during the fight and the referee had to stop the contest," the Indian team's coach on the trip C Kuttappa said.
Later, Jai Bhagwan (60kg) won on countback after being tied 2-2 with Hungarian M Varga.
The Indian had a better individual score than Varga when the total score given by all five judges was taken into account.
Suranjoy Singh (51kg) had made the semis on the first day itself after winning his quarterfinal bout.
However, P Narjeet Singh (54kg) and Olympian AL Lakra (57kg) crashed out of the event after losing in the quarterfinals.
While Narjeet lost 4-11 to Australian L Boyd, Lakra went down 1-7 against Armenian A Hovhannisyan.