India's Narender eked out a split verdict win to advance to the quarterfinals of the Strandja Memorial International Boxing Tournament while the seasoned Shiva Thapa forfeited his second-round bout after coming down with a fever, here on Wednesday.
The super heavyweight (+92kg) clash between Narender and Congo Gerlon of Ecuador went down to the wire as the crowd was in anticipation till the last minute to find out about the winner.
Both the boxers went toe to toe from the start of the bout and made calculative moves on their opponent. Narender tried to take advantage of his height and long range, while the Ecuadorian brought his swift movements into the play to gain points in every round.
In the end, the Indian pugilist prevailed over his opponent in a 3-2 verdict. Unfortunately, India's experienced campaigner Shiva couldn't take the ring due to fever and, as a result, gave a walkover to his opponent Malik Hasanov of Azerbaijan in the pre-quarter-finals.
On the other hand, in the round-of-16 match, Varinder Singh (60kg) lost 0-5 against Abdumurodov Dilsoh of Uzbekistan to bow out of the tournament, while Sumit went down 1-4 against Rami Kiwan of Bulgaria in the pre-quarters.
Later on Wednesday, three women boxers will be in action as Simranjit (60kg) will take on Australia's Danielle Scanlon, while Arundhati Choudhary (75kg) will face Caitlin Parker of Australia. Jyoti (52kg) will square off against Nozimakhon Bulturova of Uzbekistan.
Late on Tuesday night, two male pugilists won their respective matches and progressed into the next round of the tournament. Sachin (54kg), the 2021 World Youth champion, defeated Henrik Sahakyan of Armenia 4-1 to reach the quarterfinals of the prestigious competition.
He will face Shakhzod Muzafaroz of Uzbekistan in his next bout. Akash (67kg) registered a comfortable 5-0 victory over his Bulgarian opponent Rosen Markov to reach the last-eight stage of the competition. He will take on Italy's Manuel Lombardi in his next bout. Meanwhile, Sahil (80kg) bowed out after going down 0-5 against Vladimir Mironchikov of Serbia in the 80kg division.
The prestigious tournament is witnessing the participation of 398 pugilists, including 256 men and 142 women which is the highest ever in the competition's history.