Indian boxers were off to a good start in the Asian Championships claiming two pre-quarterfinals berths in the opening session of the continental showpiece in Bangkok on Friday.
National champion Deepak (49kg) and Rohit Tokas (64kg) advanced to the last-16 stage with confident victories.
Deepak defeated Vietnam’s Loi Bui Cong Danh, fetching a unanimous verdict from the judges before Rohit put it past Taiwan’s Chu-Yen Lai with a similar scoreline. Deepak kept it simple and focussed on hitting straight to ensure clean and impactful punches. Danh wasn’t particularly a pushover but lacked power in his attacks, not to mention the poor precision.
Rohit Tokas (64kg) was up against a more aggressive one in Lai but he hardly broke a sweat to advance.
The Indian, a winner of three King’s Cup bronze medals here, literally toyed with his rival, who seemed under-prepared for bout.
Lai was cautioned several times for failing to keep his head up. He went for the jugular in the last three minutes but Rohit thwarted him with a smart defensive strategy that involved keeping the opponent at arm’s length and avoiding the corners.