Vijender, Manpreet enter quarters of Asian Olympic Qualifiers
New Delhi: Olympic bronze-medallist Vijender Singh stood just one win away from securing a berth in the London Games after clinching his pre-quarterfinal bout, along with Manpreet Singh, on a second successive triumphant day for India at the Asian Boxing Qualifiers in Astana, Kazakhstan on Friday.
Vijender (75kg), a former World Championships bronze-medallist, defeated Syria`s Ishak Waez 11-5 to set up a clash with Mongolia`s Chuluuntumur Tumurkhuyag in the quarterfinals.
"I was on the offensive from the very start and kept attacking him with uppercuts and right straight punches. He just kept running around and I kept chasing him all around the ring," Vijender said.
"The last time I faced a Syrian boxer was in the 2006 Doha Asian Games. I was a winner then also and I won today as well even though the guys were different. Next up is Mongolia, I haven`t faced him before but I am ready," added the former world number one.
Earlier in the day, Asian Games silver-medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg) took just a minute and 46 seconds to win his opening bout and enter the quarterfinals.
Manpreet defeated Mongolia`s Toulyek Yerbolat in a lop-sided contest to inch closer to the finals, where he will have to win a gold to make the cut for the London Games.
It was a rousing start to the day for India as Manpreet displayed such ferocity in his right upper-cuts and straight punches that referee stopped the contest midway through the first round itself after Yerbolat ended up getting three mandatory counts.
Manpreet will now face Chingis Borbashev of Kyrgyzstan in the last-eight stage.
"It was completely one-sided. Manpreet came good with his powerful uppercuts and straight rights. He fought extremely well," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said.
"Vijender also fought a technically good bout and outwitted the guy with his aggressive approach and he was smart enough to keep it from the long range," he added.
Yesterday, Suranjoy Singh (52kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg) had won their opening bouts.
Suranjoy will tomorrow face off against Mongolia`s Tugstsogt Nyambayar, who was his nemesis in both the 2009 and 2011 World Championships. Sumit will square off against Kim Hyeongkyu of Korea in his next bout on Sunday.
Also tomorrow, 18-year-old promising talent Shiva Thapa will kick off his campaign with a relatively easy opener against Afghan Mohammad Khaiber Nooristani after getting a first-round bye.
Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Paramjeet Samota has got a first-round bye and will take the ring against Soumar Ghossoun of Syria in the semifinal on April 11.