New Delhi: Lalitha Prasad (49kg), Sandeep Sharma (75kg) and Narender Berwal (+91kg) have assured themselves of a medal after advancing to the semifinals of the the AIBA Youth World Championships at Yerevan, Armenia.
Out of four Indian boxers, who made it to the round of eight, three entered the last four stage of the championship.
This will be India`s best medal haul in the competition in terms of numbers. In the previous edition of the championship in 2010, India clinched a gold and a silver.
Coach G Manoharan is confident this will be India`s best performance both in terms of numbers as well as the colour of the metal.
"The boys have done really well, beating some tough opponents to make it to the semi-finals. The upcoming bouts will not be easy but I am sure we will be able bag at least two gold medals and better 2010`s performance," he said.
Two-time Youth National Champion, Berwal today shocked Russia`s current Youth National Champion and European Junior Championships bronze medallist, Ivan Kabatov in the quarterfinals and is now assured of at least a bronze.
From the very beginning, the 18-year-old Berwal started to put pressure on the Russian with his aggressive intent.
Kabatov seemed completely out of sorts against the power play of the Indian who raced to a 7-2 lead with his quick fire counter jabs and combinations after the opening three minutes of play.
He then pressed on to increase the margin and made it a nine point game, 14-5. By the end of the second round it was clear that the Indian was about to pull off an upset. He went on to beat Ivan with a margin of 10 points, 19-9.
Berwal will next take on Germany`s Florian Schulz, who eliminated another favourite Yohandi Toirac of Cuba.
"Narender gave a good account of his boxing skills. He was exceptional with his blocking and attacking play, plus his footwork was also very good," said Manoharan.
Prasad edged past Kosie Tanaka of Japan in what was a tactical fight. And now he will face Bin LV of China for a place in the finals of the fly weight category on Thursday.
Sandeep overpowered Azizjon Mamatov of Uzbekistan in a one-sided affair. The 17-year-old Haryana lad will be up against European Youth Championships silver medallist, Magomed Madyiev of Russia.
However, Dheeraj Singh (52kg) though came agonisingly close to qualifying for the medal rounds but crashed out of the round of eight after losing to Cuban boxer Jorge Cordero.
A silver medallist at the 2012 Tammer International Tournament, Dheeraj was slow to get off the mark and Cordero took complete advantage of it. The sluggish start put him on to the back foot and he eventually lost 8-11.
Manoharan felt that Dheeraj was a bit unlucky not to have been awarded more points.
"Dheeraj fought well, unfortunately he lost. The score does not do justice to the way he tackled the Cuban boxer. Also I thought he should have been awarded a few more points," insisted the coach.