Bangkok: Defending champion Shiva Thapa (56kg) and previous edition's silver-medallist Laishram Devendro (49kg) notched up contrasting victories as they advanced to the quarterfinals of the Asian Boxing Championships here on Sunday.
While Shiva fought through an engrossing contest to beat Jordan's Mohammad Alwadi 3-0, Devendro out-punched China's He Junjun by a similar margin in their respective pre-quarterfinal bouts here.
But last edition's silver-medallist Mandeep Jangra (69kg) bowed out after losing 1-2 to Japan's Yasuhiro Suzuki. Devendro opened the day for India and the Commonwealth Games silver-medallist hit the attack mode from the very first second, pushing Junjun on to the backfoot with a flurry of jabs.
The first round completely belonged to the Indian and that initial domination came in handy in the next two rounds. Devendro slowed the tempo slightly and waited for his rival to make the first move but Junjun had been left so unnerved by the initial attack that he was hesitant to land the first blow despite having a longer reach.
Devendro capitalised on this and intimidated him further with a couple of powerful left uppercuts besides his regular jabs to eke out a comfortable triumph. Devendro will be fighting Cornelis Kwangu Langu in the quarterfinals on September 1. Langu got the better of Vietnam's Ngoc Tan Inahuynh in his last-16 stage bout.
Next up was Shiva but he had to deal with a more resolute rival in a draining contest. The Indian concentrated on hitting straight and intense to ensure that every punch of his had impact, fetching him the all crucial points.
A naturally counter-attacking boxer, Shiva enticed Alwadi to attempt the first blow by keeping his guard perilously low. The draining move required Shiva to be quick on his feet and he managed to get that synchronisation right leaving Alwadi struggling to connect.
The Jordanian came back strongly in the third round and, in fact, dominated the last 30 seconds but it could not undo the lead conceded in the previous rounds as Shiva entered the next round. Shiva will now face Kyrgyzstan's Omurbek Malabekov, who pummelled Nepal's Dinesh Shreshtha in his bout.
However, there was heartbreak for Mandeep, who went out of the competition after a close loss. The Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, faced with a much taller opponent, did well to negate the physical gap by adopting an aggressive approach but could not control the pace of the bout.
Trying hard to target his rival's torso and to nullify his straight punches, Mandeep ended up getting a warning for bending too much. The youngster, who was conferred the Arjuna award this year, paid for a few defensive lapses as well, giving Suzuki a hard-fought triumph.
In the middleweight 75kg category, second seed Vikas Krishan beat Turkmenistan's Arslanbek Achilov 3-0.