World Championships bronze -medallist Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Comm onwealth silver-winner L Devendro Singh (49kg) on Monday provided the spark to the Indian men’s boxing campaign by advancing to the quarterfinals of the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Qian’an.
Shiva, seeded top in his category, outpunched Korea’s Myeongkwan Lee 3-0 to enter the last-eight stage.
Fourth-seeded Devendro defeated Malaysia’s Mohd Redzuan Mohammad Fuad Bin by a similar margin.
However, Gaurav Bidhuri (52kg) lost to Japan’s Ryomei Tanaka.
In the last bout of the day, Commonwealth Games silver- medallist Mandeep Jangra (69kg) lost to Thailand’s Saylom Ardee.
The victories by Shiva and Devendro lifted the morale of the Indian team, which had suffered setbacks in the past two days of competition including the shock loss of second seed Vikas Krishan (75kg) in the opening round.
There were no women’s bouts today as the quarterfinalists were decided last night.
From India, M C Mary Kom (51kg) and L Sarita Devi (60kg) have made the last-eight stage.
The continental qualifiers have 30 Olympic berths on offer for men and six for women.
This means that the top three boxers in each category from the men’s competition and top two from the women’s draw will make the cut for Rio de Janeiro.
The third slot in each of the men’s category will be decided via a box-off between the bronze-medallists.