Four-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (63kg) and defending champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) on Wednesday sailed into the quarterfinals of the Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament with resounding victories in their second-round bouts in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Also making the quarters was national medallist Duryodhan Singh Negi (69kg) after a comprehensive 5-0 triumph over Ireland’s Kieran Molloy.
Zareen was declared the winner after local favourite Sevda Asenova forfeited during the opening round of the contest. Asenova was a former gold-medallist at the event, which is into its 71st edition this year.
Former world bronze-medallist Thapa defeated Poland’s Pavel Polakovic 5-0 in his last 16 stage clash. He had received an opening-round bye.
In other men’s bouts, Commonwealth Games bronze-winner Mohammed Hussamuddin (57kg) advanced after defeating France’s Enzo Grau in a 1-4 verdict.
There was disappointment elsewhere as India endured six opening-round defeats on Tuesday evening.
Among the men, South Asian Games gold-medallist Ankit Khatana (75kg), Asian silver-medallist Deepak Kumar (52kg), Narender (+91kg), and Naveen Kumar (91kg) made early exits.
Nupur (75kg) and Lalita (69kg) were the ones to bow out in the women’s draw. Nupur was outpunched 0-5 by France’s Davina Michel, while Lalita lost 1-4 to Poland’s Karolina Koszewska.
Khatana was beaten 0-5 by the USA’s Javier Martinez. Narender also lost by a similar margin to another American — Richard Torrez Jr.
Deepak went down 1-4 to Spain’s Gabriel Escobar. Naveen lost 0-5 to Italy’s Abbes Mouhiidine.
More than 30 countries are taking part in the tournament, featuring over 250 boxers.