Devendro Singh’s dreams of winning an Olympic medal came to an agonising end as he lost 18-23 to Ireland’s Paddy Barnes in a bristling light flyweight quarterfinal on Wednesday night.With it, the Indian boxing campaign came to an earlier end than they would have liked. For a boxer who had earned an RSC verdict in the first round against Bayron Molina of Honduras and a 16-11 victory of 2008 finalist Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia, Devendro Singh had the potential to get past the Irishman and get among the medals.But Barnes fought smart by combining aggression and sensible defence to cause India to groan in disappointment.The Excel arena throbbed with life and the huge number of Irish supporters armed with their national flags watched the Indian start in an attacking manner.However, the 25-year-old Barnes drew on his experience of winning the 2008 Olympic bronze as well as the European and the Commonwealth Games titles in 2010 to deny Devendro more scoring opportunities than he got.With a never-say-die approach, the pocket-sized dynamo from Manipur negated the two-point lead that Barnes picked up in the first round but was unable to bridge the gap caused by his conceding far too many in the second round when he was penalised for ‘head-butting’ his opponent.The round scores read 7-5, 10-5 and 6-8 reflected Barnes’ superior footwork, defence and overall ringcraft.You have to put it down to his lack of experience of fighting in blue riband competitions that led Devendro Singh to raise his head in a reflex action when Barnes clinched him after landing a series of scoring blows.advertisementThe American referee David Llaurado was quick to stop the bout and penalise the 20-year-old Indian for head butting.It must be said though that the manner in which Devendro Singh fought back despite trailing 10-17 after two rounds was commendable. It showcased his mental fortitude.It was not as if he was flailing his gloved fists aimlessly but there was a method that he followed. It led to Barnes clinching the Indian and earning the wrath of the referee.The win gave Barnes another shot at China’s Zou Shiming, the defending champion. Barnes lost to the Chinese top-seed in the 2007 World Championship and the 2008 Olympic Games. And the result left Devendro with something to ponder about.With greater experience and maturity, the boxer from Army Sports Institute can emerge as one of India’s top boxers in the coming years.India derived much joy in seven men qualifying for the boxing competition at the Games this time but barring middleweight boxer Vijender Singh and Devendro Singh who were one bout away from winning a medal, none of them was able to make it to the quarterfinals.It was not the best end for national coach GS Sandhu’s career as India’s chief coach.”Devendro was unlucky,” said Brig Muralidharan Raja after the bout. “I am sure the experience he has garnered will hold him in good stead,” added Raja.