Star Indian boxer Vijender Singh is assured of at least a bronze medal in his very first international competition in the light-heavyweight (81kg) category after advancing to the semi-finals of the Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia, on Tuesday.
Vijender, the world number one in the middleweight (75kg) division, has jumped a division for this event on an experimental basis and started off pretty well, beating Australian Jeremy van Diemen 18-6 in his opening bout.
The 25-year-old Olympic and World Championships bronze-medallist took a 5-2 lead in the opening round before widening the margin to 10-3 in the next three minutes.
"My first international event in the light-heavyweight division and I am so happy to have won. It is very satisfying because my opponent was a powerful guy," Vijender said from Darwin.
The Asian Games gold medallist, competing in his first event after a five-month break, did not give any chance to opponent in the final three minutes as well and sealed it 18-6 to start his campaign with a bang.
"Power was perhaps the only difference but my movement in the ring was better. When it came to skills, I was better then him and managed to negate the power factor," added the Haryana lad.
Indian women boxers also made a fine start to their campaign in the event, with Pooja Rani (75kg) and Meena Rani (60kg) winning their opening bouts.
While Pooja defeated local hope Scott Kaye 7-5, Meena had it easier, as the referee awarded the bout to her after her Indonesian opponent Ramela Dina Adriana sustained an injury.
Earlier, Akhil Kumar (56kg) reached the quarter-finals, winning his opening bout on Monday.