Shiva Thapa inched closer to adding a record fourth medal by entering the 60kg pre-quarterfinals while six other Indians advanced to the last-eight stage in the Asian Boxing Championships here on Saturday.
Thapa secured a thrilling 4-1 win over Korea’s Kim Wonho and is now a couple of wins away from a medal to add to the gold, bronze and silver he won in 2013, 2015 and 2017 editions respectively.
The Assam pugilist will next take on Kyrgyzstan’s Seitbek Uulu for a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
2018 World Championships bronze winner Lovlina Borgohain began her medal quest in an impressive fashion, outpunching Vietnam’s Tran Thi Linh 5-0 to advance to the quarter-finals.
Up next on Monday for the 2019 Strandja Cup bronze medallist is a stiff challenge in the form of Chinese Taipei’s Chen Nien-Chin, to whom the Indian lost to in the semi-finals of the World Championships in New Delhi last year.
National champion and Makran Cup gold medallist Deepak continued his good form at this elite event with yet another commanding 5-0 win over Sri Lanka’s Mutunaka Pedi Gedara.
Winner of two King’s Cup medals in Thailand, Rohit Tokas (64kg) displayed his speed and alertness in his 5-0 thrashing of Afghanistan’s Nooristani Mohammad Khaibar to enter the last-eight.
Kavinder Singh Bisht (56kg) brought his gold medal-winning form from the GeeBee boxing tournament to open with a commanding 5-0 victory over Japan’s Subaru Murata.
In contrast, Ashish Kumar (75kg) had to dig deep to beat China’s Tanglatihan Tuohetaerbieke in a 3-2 split verdict in an absorbing pre-quarter-final contest.
21-year-old Manisha Moun (54kg) of Haryana made a promising start to her campaign with a unanimous 5-0 win over Vietnam’s Do Nha Uyen to enter the quarterfinals.
The only loss of the day for the Indian contingent was in women’s 48kg where debutant Nitu succumbed to a 1-4 defeat to Taipei’s Pin Meng-Chieh.
On Sunday, all eyes will be on Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) as he begins his challenge against Taipei’s Tu Po-Wei.
Amit, likely to face reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals, has been oozing confidence as he began the 2019 season with a gold medal at the Strandja Cup boxing tournament.
Ashish (69 kg) and Brijesh Yadav (81kg) too will be in action on Sunday.
On the women’s side, four-time Asian Championships gold medallist Sarita Devi (60kg) will start her hunt for a sixth medal from this tournament when she enters the ring against Korea’s Gwon Sujin.
Former world junior champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) will also seek her second international medal of the year after a gold at the Strandja Cup as she takes on Srey Pov Nao of Cambodia.