Asian Boxing C'ship: Vikas, Gaurav in quarter-finals
Top seed Vikas Krishan (75 kg) and Gaurav Bidhuri (56 kg) advanced to the quarter-finals, giving India a good start at the Asian Boxing Championships here on Monday.
Vikas took barely two minutes to sail past Thailand's Pathomsak Kuttiya after his opponent sustained a cut above his left eye just over a minute into the opening round. The bout was halted twice before the referee decided to stop the contest in favour of the Indian.
Vikas will face Indonesia's Betaubun Brama Hendra in the last-eight stage.
Gaurav also defeated a Thai in his first contest, going past Yuttapong Tongdee. Gaurav has a tough contest coming up as he will be squaring off against second seed Jiawei Hang of China.
However, it was curtains for Asian youth silver-winner Ashish Kumar (64 kg), who was defeated by Uzbekistan's Ikboljon Kholdarov.
All the three were competing in the pre-quarter-final stage after getting first-round byes. The tournament, featuring 179 boxers from 28 countries, is a qualifier for the August-September World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.
The top-six in each of the 10 weight categories in this tournament will make the cut for the big event.
On Tuesday, fourth seed Shiva Thapa (60 kg), third seed Satish Kumar (+91 kg), sixth seed Manoj Kumar (69 kg), Manish Panwar (81 kg) and Kavinder Singh (49 kg) will open their campaign in the tournament.
Shiva, a World Championships bronze-medallist and a two- time medallist at the Asian meet, will face Kyrgyzstan's Omurbek Malabekov. Manoj, a former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, will fight it out against Afghanistan's Allah Rahimi.
Satish will face the winner of the match between Mongolia's Yerbolat Tulyek and Kazakhstan's Kamshybek Kunkabayev.
Manish will be up against Sri Lanka's Ambagasange Gunarathna, Manoj will square off against Afghanistan's Allah Rahimi. Indonesia's Aldoms Suguro awaits Kavinder.
India had won four medals at the last Asian Championships in 2015. Vikas had won the country its lone silver medal, while Shiva, Devendro and Satish (+91 kg) had settled for bronze medals. India's last gold medal at the Asian meet had come in 2013 through Shiva, when he was competing in the bantamweight division. Prior to that M Suranjoy Singh (52 kg) had won a gold medal in the 2009 edition of the Championship.