Asian silver-medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht (57kg) advanced to the pre-quarterfinals with a hard-fought win over China’s Chena Zhihao in the World Men’s Boxing Championships in Yekaterinburg on Sunday. The fifth seeded Indian left his rival with a bloodied face before the judges ruled 3-2 in his favour after an exhausting bout during which both the boxers managed to connect very few impactful punches. Bisht will square off against Finland’s Arslan Khataev in the round of 16.
However, there was a disappointment for India in the evening session with Brijesh Yadav (81kg) bowing out in a split 1-4 verdict against Turkey’s Bayram Malkan. The lack of aggressive intent in the first two rounds cost Yadav as his fine comeback in the final round proved too little too late.
Bisht, a 26-year-old Indian Air Force man was a quarterfinalist in 2017 Hamburg edition. However, he has entered the ongoing edition as one of the strongest contenders for a medal. On Sunday, he stood out for his pace and endurance indicating a strong run in the marquee event.
Earlier, second seed and Asian champion Amit Panghal (52kg) and Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kaushik (63kg) advanced to the pre-quarterfinals after claiming dominating wins in their respective second-round bouts.
The World Championship was meant to be an Olympic qualifier and features the revised eight weight categories (52kg, 57kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg, 81kg, 91kg, +91kg) earmarked for Tokyo 2020, instead of the traditional 10 divisions.
However, the event was stripped of that status after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) lost patience with the long-standing administrative mess in the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
The IOC took control of the Olympics qualification process, which will now start next year with the Asian qualifiers in February.
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