World Men's Boxing Championships: Four Indians march into quarters
Ekaterinburg (Russia): The Indian juggernaut seemed unstoppable as four boxers, including Asian champion Amit Panghal (52kg), advanced to the quarterfinals with impressive victories in an all-win outing in the World Men's Boxing Championships here on Tuesday.
Asian Games gold-medallist and second seed Panghal was joined by Asian silver-winner and fifth seed Kavinder Singh Bisht (57kg) and the debutant duo of Commonwealth Games silver-winner Manish Kaushik (63kg) and Sanjeet (91kg).
Panghal defeated Turkey's Batuhan Citfci, while Kaushik stunned fourth-seeded Mongolian Chinzorig Baatarsukh, who is an Asian Games silver-medallist and also a two-time medal-winner at the Asian Championships. Both the Indians claimed 5-0 victories.
Sanjeet (91kg) then caused another massive upset by defeating second-seeded Uzbek Sanjar Tursunov 4-1. Tursunov is a bronze-medallist from the previous World Championship besides being an Asian silver-winner.
In the evening session, Bisht defeated Finland's Arslan Khataev 3-2 to claim a second successive quarterfinal spot at the marquee tournament.
Panghal is also chasing a medal in his second World Championship after a quarterfinal finish in 2017. Kaushik and Sanjeet are making their debuts at the showpiece. All four boxers are from the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB).
Second-seeded Panghal, the reigning Asian champion, will next be up against Filipino Carlo Paalam, who had lost to Panghal in the semifinals of the Asian Games in Jakarta last year. Paalam defeated Korea's Jo Sehyeong in a unanimous verdict in his pre-quarterfinal bout.
Kaushik, on the other hand, will square off against Brazil's Wanderson de Oliveira. Oliveira defeated Japan's Saisuke Narimatsu in his last-16 stage bout.
Sanjeet will be up against seventh-seeded Julio Cesa Castillo Torres of Ecuador. Torres got the better of Hungary's Adam Hamori.
"It was a good bout as I fought against an experienced boxer. I will be ready with my strategy for Paalam tomorrow. I dedicate this win to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is celebrating his 69th birthday today," Panghal said after the bout.
Panghal was the first to take the ring for India and in a contest which did not have much of action to start with, he set the ball rolling by using his left hooks to good effect in the opening round.