New Delhi: Manoj Kumar eased past Bahamas` Valentino Knowles 17-11 to enter the light welterweight (64kg) second round and continue the Indian boxers` fine show at the World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan on Friday.
Manoj, the lone Indian in action on Friday, now has a tough bout at hand as he will be up against reigning European champion and fourth seed Raymond Moylette of Ireland.
Moylette rallied to beat Latvia`s Arturs Ahmetovs 16-11 in his pulsating opening bout.
Manoj, who had earlier beaten Knowles in the Commonwealth Games semifinals, took a slender one-point lead in the opening round, closing it 5-4 ahead.
The 25-year-old Haryana boxer then consolidated his lead to 11-8 by notching six points to his rival`s four in the second round.
In the final three minutes, the Indian counter-puncher added another six points to his tally to clinch the issue comfortably.
"Knowles was a tough customer and made Manoj work really hard for his points at least in the opening round. He was coming up with some very good uppercuts and right hooks," national coach said Gurbax Singh Sandhu from Baku.
"But Manoj played smart and fought from long range and he also became very aggressive in the second and third round. This unsettled Knowles and he found it tough to cope with Manoj`s combination of straight punches and uppercuts," he added.
On Saturday, Olympic bronze-medallist Vijender Singh (75kg) will kick off his campaign in the event, where he won a bronze medal the last time around.
Vijender, world number eight and seeded seventh in the mega event, will face Cuba`s Olympic silver-medallist Emilio Correa Bayeaux in the opening round.
Emilio had beaten the Asian Games gold medallist Indian in the Olympic semifinals before a hand injury took away almost a year from him.
Also in action tomorrow will be Jai Bhagwan in the lightweight 60kg division.
Jai, a bronze medallist at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, will face Lithuania`s Evaldas Petrauskas in his opening bout.
"Both the bouts are very tough. Vijender`s bout is tough we all know but even Jai`s bout is not easy. This Lithuanian guy is known to be tough and had beaten Vikas Krishan once when he was in the lightweight category," said Sandhu.