Three Indian boxers qualify for London Olympics

New Delhi: Indian boxers packed a powerful punch as Commonwealth Games medallists Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Jai Bhagwan (60kg), along with rookie teen sensation L Devendro Singh, qualified for the London Olympics by advancing to the World Championships' quarter-finals with contrasting wins in Baku, Azerbaijan on Tuesday.

While Manoj rallied to defeat China's Qing Hu 17-15, 19-year-old Devendro continued his giant-killing spree by beating seventh seed Carlos Quipo of Ecuador 18-12 in another impressive performance. In the evening session, Jai upstaged seventh seed David Joyce of Ireland 32-30 in a tense battle.

The trio sealed their berths for the Olympic Games, becoming the first lot of Indian boxers to qualify for the mega-event.

Top 10 boxers (from 49kg to 81kg) at this event will make the Olympic cut while boxers in the 91kg and +91kg category will have to finish among the top-six to book their London tickets.

But, there was some disappointment too for India as Asian Games silver-medallist and 12th seed Dinesh Kumar bowed out with a 7-16 loss to CWG gold-medallist Damien Hooper of Australia.

Manoj was the first to take the ring for India and the counter-puncher, who has won the coaches' admiration for his calculative approach and adaptability, once again impressed with a composed performance.

The Haryana-boxer was trailing 3-6 in the opening round but he bounced back brilliantly to level the score 7-7 in the second round and narrow the overall gap to 10-11.

He went on the offensive in the final round, securing seven points against his rival's two to clinch victory. Manoj will now face fifth seed Thomas Stalker of England. Stalker, a European Championship silver-medallist, defeated Russia's Alexander Solyanikov 17-9.


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