Devendro, Jai enter pre-quarters of World Championships

New Delhi: Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner Jai Bhagwan (60kg) and rookie teen L Devendro Singh (49kg) inched closer to Olympic qualification by advancing to the pre-quarterfinals with thumping wins in their respective second-round bouts of the World Boxing Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan on Monday.

The 19-year-old Devendro pummelled Joselito Velazquez of Mexico 40-19 in what was biggest points win of the ongoing event till now. Jai, on the other hand, got the better of Miroslav Serban of the Czech Republic 14-6 in his bout.

The duo joined Manoj Kumar (64kg), Dinesh Kumar (81kg) and Vikas Krishan in the pre-quarters as the Indian boxers continued to pack a powerful punch at the mega-event from where quarter-finalists (from 49kg to 81kg division) will qualify for the London Olympics.

While Devendro will take on Ecuador's Carlos Quipo, who defeated Turkey's Ferhat Pehlivan 17-10, Jai would be up against seventh seeded Irishman David Joyce, who thrashed Afghanistan's Mohammad Khaiber 26-13.

Devendro opened the proceedings for India and the diminutive Manipuri, playing his maiden senior international event, was off to a flier of a start.

Opening up a massive 19-7 lead in the opening round itself, Devendro was up 31-14 by the end of the second round.

The Indian slowed down a bit in the final three minutes, notching up nine points to total 40 against opponent's 19 in final analysis.

"It was a sensational performance. He used a combination of right straights and left hooks besides the occasional uppercuts. His punches were landing so perfectly that it was just amazing to watch," said national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu from Baku.

"We actually told him to slow down a bit in the final round. His aggression had to be seen to be believed. I expected him to do well and today he was just unstoppable. The other guy ended up getting mandatory knockdown eight count twice in the bout," he added.

Jai was the next man in for India and he was also in the lead from the very start against Serban.

Leading 3-1 in the opening three minutes, he went on offensive in the next round to make it 9-3. The Commonwealth Championships gold-medallist continued his domination in the final three minutes to clinch the issue with ease.


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