Boxing World C'ships: Nishant enters second round; Govind in last 16
Belgrade: Nishant Dev (71kg) sailed into the second round while Govind Sahani (48kg) made the pre-quarters with a superb come-from-behind effort in his opening bout as Indian boxers continued to impress in the AIBA Men's Boxing World Championships here on Wednesday.
While Dev notched up a dominating 5-0 triumph over Hungary's Laszlo Kozak, Sahani rallied from one round down to beat Ecuador's Billy Arias Ortiz 3-2 in an edge of seat showdown.
Dev will next fight Mauritian Merven Clair, who got a bye in the first round.
Sahani (48kg) will be up against Georgian Sakhil Alakhverdovi in the round of 16.
Alakhverdovi got an opening round bye. The Indian debutant put up a brilliant performance, refusing to be bogged down after losing the opening round unanimously.
He simply drained his opponent with relentless punching in the next two rounds, winning what became a battle of attrition.
However, in the first heartbreak for India, another debutant Lakshya Chahar (86kg) lost to Korea's Kim Hyeongkyu, a former Asian Games silver-medallist, after the bout had to be stopped in the second round.
The action came to an unexpectedly early end when the Indian sustained a forehead cut that opened up despite medical attention. The injury was caused by head butt during an exchange of punches from close range.
Chahar won the opening round 4-1 but the judges ruled in favour of the Korean after the bout was stopped.
A visibly irate India High Performance Director Santiago Nieva was seen expressing his displeasure with the decision, which also left Chahar stunned.
Earlier, Dev's win was a perfect start to the day for the country after Sumit (75kg) and Narender Berwal (+92kg) advanced to the second round of their respective categories with fine victories late Tuesday night.
Sumit defeated Jamaican Damon O'Neill 5-0 while Narender faced some stiff challenge from Poland's Oskar Safaryan before recording a 4-1 win.
Sumit will face Tajikistan's Abdumalik Boltaev in the next round, while Sierra Leone's Mohamed Kendeh awaits Berwal.
Four others, including Asian medal winners Shiva Thapa (63.5kg) and Deepak Bohria (51kg), had made the second round of their categories earlier in the tournament.
Later this evening, Varinder Singh will take on Karen Tonakanyan of Armenia in his 60kg opening bout.
With more than 600 boxers from over 100 countries in the fray, a lot of competitors will have to win at least three bouts in some categories to get to the quarterfinal stage.
The gold winners at the showpiece will walk away with a prize money of USD 100,000.
The silver medallists are to be given USD 50,000, and both bronze-medallists will be awarded USD 25,000 each. The total prize purse stands at a whopping USD 2.6 million.
India are being represented by its reigning national champions across weight categories. PTI