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Mixed day for Indian pugilists at President's Cup

Indian pugilists had a mixed day at the third International Republic of Kazakhstan President's Cup with Manpreet Singh and L Devendro Singh advancing to the semifinals while Shiva Thapa and Manoj Kumar crashed out on the second day of the tournament in Almaty.

In the light fly weight division, L Devendro Singh (49kg) breezed past his Russian opponent Egorov Vasily with consummate ease.

The 20-year-old dominated the quarterfinal with his swift counter-attacks and agile footwork. Vasily had no answer to Devendro's superior power play as he led 7:2 in the first round and 16:6 by the end of the second.

In the last round, the Manipuri boxer continued to attack with his three punch combination and added six more points to his tally, finally winning the bout on points 22:9.

Devendro will have a tough ask ahead in the semis on Saturday as he takes on the Olympian and Asian Games silver medallist Birzhan Zakipov of Kazakhstan.

Asian Games silver medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg) also secured his last-four spot with another power-packed performance. He defeated Telesenko Alaxander of Ukraine in a completely lop-sided contest.

The 23-year-old heavy weight was at his menacing best as he overwhelmed the Ukrainian boxer with his hard hitting jabs and body blows. The reigning national champion eventually won the bout 17:7 on points.

In the semis, he will take on local challenger Abduganiev Arbek.

Having made it to the semifinals, both Manpreet and Devendro are now assured of at least a bronze medal finish.

However, youth Olympic silver medallist Shiva (56kg) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj (64kg) suffered defeats in their quarterfinal bouts, but not before giving the opponents a run for their money.

In the bantam weight division, Shiva once again gave a fine account of his skills and maturity against AIBA World Boxing Championship gold medallist Alvarez Estrada of Cuba.

There was not much separating the two boxers throughout the bout as Shiva matched the reigning world champion punch for punch. After the opening round, the scores were leveled at three-all.

Estrada grabbed a crucial one-point lead by the end of the second, but the Indian managed to level things once again in the final round.

After nine minutes of high octane fighting, the scores were even at 16-all, but Shiva lost on count back (48:49).

Manoj too put up a brave performance, but in the end was defeated at the hands of Ulihanov Azhat. The 25-year-old, who was leading with two points after the first round, lost the advantage to some spirited boxing by the Ukrainian in the second.

The Indian made a comeback in the third with some hard hitting blows, but it was not enough to take game away from Ulihanov. Manoj lost on points 14:18.

Day three of the tournament will witness three Indian boxers taking to the ring.

World Championship bronze medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg) will take on Kojabekov Bakhitjan of the Kazakhstan while Lakhbeer Singh (69Kg) will be up against another local guy Sapiev Serik. Kanwar Preet Singh (+91Kg) will lock horns with Demmene Nadir of Algeria.

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