Amit Phangal became the first Indian boxer to enter the quarterfinals of the 19th World Championships, upstaging seventh seed Carlos Quipo of Ecuador in his second-round bout in Hamburg on Sunday.
The Indian prevailed in a unanimous verdict to make the last-eight stage of the light flyweight 49kg category at the Sporthalle in Hamburg.
It was an assured performance by the Asian Championships bronze-medallist, who is enjoying a breakthrough year at the senior level.
The 21-year-old didn’t look in any awe of his rival’s higher seeding and frustrated him with his counter-attacks. Quipo hardly looked the part of a seeded boxer and was cautioned several times for failing to keep his head up.
Hitting straight and clean, Amit was markedly the better boxer and the judges ruled in his favour unanimously.
Earlier, Manoj Kumar drew from his huge reservoir of experience, while Kavinder Bisht relied on sheer tenacity for hard-fought opening victories.
Manoj defeated Moldovan Vasilii Belous 3-2 in an exhausting welterweight (69kg) contest. Kavinder, on the other hand, edged past Japan’s Ryusei Baba in a similarly draining flyweight (52kg) bout, which ended 3-2 in his favour.
However, there was slight disappointment too as Asian Games bronze-medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg) bowed out of the competition after losing his opening contest to Azerbaijan’s two-time world champion Mahammadrasul Majidov 5-0.
The Indian was slightly under the weather going into Sunday’s contest, having suffered a bout of viral fever before coming in Hamburg.
Kavinder was the first to take the ring for the country, which had all its bout in the evening session for the second day in a row.
The Asian Championships quarter-finalist started rather cautiously and spent the opening three minutes getting a measure of his opponent. However, Kavinder’s approach allowed
Baba to land some clear blows, giving him the early advantage.
Kavinder, however, made a quick recovery and became the aggressor in the second round. His right hooks connected quite well and disturbed Baba’s rhythm. Kavinder upped the ante further in the final three minutes to get the decisive nod from the judges in his favour.
Kavinder will next be up against third-seeded Algerian Mohamed Flissi. Flissi is a two-time World Championships medallist, having bagged a silver in 2013 followed by a bronze
in the 2015 edition.
Manoj was the next man in and in complete contrast to Kavinder, he gave it his all in the first two rounds. The 31-year-old former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist was in his
elements from the word go and used his reach to good effect against Belous.
The faltering Moldovan had little or no response to offer in the first two rounds and resorted to throwing wild swings at the Indian. However, the burst did tire out Manoj in the
last round and Besoul tried to grab the advantage at this stage.
However, Manoj had done the job by then to ensure that the final verdict went in his favour.
“Both Manoj and Kavinder had tough bouts in a very different way. But they knew how to maneuver and they did just that,” India’s Swedish coach Santiago Nieva told PTI after the two bouts.
“The results have been good so far but there is a long way to go,” he added.
Awaiting Manoj in the second round is fourth-seeded Venezuelan Gabriel Maestre Perez. Perez had won a bronze in the 2013 World Championships and he is also a Pan-American
Satish contested the last bout of yesterday and even though he gave a good account of himself, the judges ruled overwhelmingly in favour of his more decorated rival.