Bangkok: Former World Championships bronze-medallist Vikas Krishan (75kg) was the lone Indian to make the final while three others settled for bronze medals after losing hard-fought semifinal contests in the Asian Boxing Championships here on Friday.
Vikas defeated Iraq's Waheed Abdulridha 3-0 to set up a clash with Uzbekistan's Bektemir Melikuziev in the final tomorrow.
However, Satish Kumar (+91kg), L Devendro (49kg) and defending champion Shiva Thapa (56kg) lost their respective semifinals despite valiant efforts and settled for bronze medals.
All three of them had earlier assured themselves of berths in next month's World Championships -- the first qualifier for 2016 Olympics.
Also making the World Championships cut today were, Madan Lal (52kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) after the Uzbek boxers who beat them in the quarterfinals -- Shakhobidin Zoirov, seeded second, and Fazliddin Gaibnazarov respectively -- advanced to the final.
Vikas, an Asian Games bronze-medallist, was the last Indian in action today and he made sure that the contingent had something to cheer for after a largely disappointing day.
Unlike his usual defensive style, the Haryana-lad was attacking in his approach today and let loose a flurry of combination punches to push Abdulridha on the backfoot.
The Indian, the busier of the two when it came to attack, did not allow Abdulridha to come out of the shell guard in the first round.
In the second round, Vikas targetted Abdulridha's torso, forcing him to counter-attack. Vikas then took full advantage of the defensive lapses committed by the Iraqi and connected his left uppercuts with deadly accuracy.
In the end, the 23-year-old emerged a unanimous winner, getting the nod of all three judges.
"His boxing was very clean and his punches had power. In the final round, he showed how to maneuver after dominating the first two rounds. Very clinical show," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI.
"It is a very satisfying performance and I am glad that six of my boys made the World Championships cut," he added.
Earlier, Satish gave a fighting performance against second seed Wang Zhibao of China. The Indian lost 0-3 but the scoreline did not reflect the enormity of the fight that he gave to the Chinese, who appreciated his effort with an embrace after the bout.
Both the boxers followed similar tactics of counter-attack and Satish did not concede any easy points to his opponent but the Chinese got the judges' nod for his superior ring craft and some well-connected uppercuts.
"It was a 50-50 contest and it is always disappointing to lose a close fight," Sandhu said.
Devendro was even more ferocious in his 1-2 loss to top-seeded Uzbek Hasanboy Dusmatov. The silver-medallist from the previous edition was aggression personified and had Dusmatov scurrying for cover with his flurry of right uppercuts and jabs.
The Manipuri was clearly the better of the two boxers in terms of precision in the first two rounds. Luckily for the Uzbek, his tactics of bending excessively and using his elbow to push Devendro went unnoticed by the referee and he did not get the warnings that might have thrown up a different result.
"It was a heartbreaking loss. Devendro fought extremely well but could not be on the winning side. His performance was exceptional and I am proud of him," Sandhu said.
Shiva, on the other hand, let slip early advantage to go down 1-2 to Uzbekistan's Murodjon Akhmadaliev. The defending champion dominated the opening round but lost his way in the next two as Akhmadaliev broke through his defences to score a come-from-behind victory.
"He fought well but unfortunately it wasn't enough. However, I am overall satisfied with his effort," said Sandhu.