Extending India's winning momentum, Sanjeet and Nishant Dev registered excellent come-from-behind victories to enter quarter-finals at the 2021 AIBA Men's Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.
Joining Akash Kumar (54kg) and Narender (+92) in the Last-8 stage, the current Asian champion Sanjeet and Nishant showcased splendid show in their matches played late on Sunday night to ensure all-win record for the country on the seventh day of the prestigious tournament, where 650 top boxers have been participating from more than 100 countries from across the world.
Having lost the opening round, the boxer from Rohtak, Sanjeet recovered well in time against the Georgian opponent Giorgi Tchigladze not only to win the next round but also the 92kg Last-16 contest 4-1 comfortably in the end.
Similarly, on the other hand, playing in the 71kg pre-quarterfinals bout, debutant Nishant struggled in the early part of the game. However, the reigning national champion from Karnataka, turned the tables quite handsomely in the later stage of the match with some continuous sharp and precise body blows against the Mexican Alvarez Verde to tilt the result of the closely-fought match 3-2 in his favour.
While, Akash outclassed Puerto Rico's Caleb Tirado by unanimous margin in the 54kg Last-16 bout, Narender produced a power packed performance to upstage the former Asian Games champion veteran Tajikistan pugilist Jakhon Qurbonov by the Referee Stopping the Contest (RSC) verdict in the second round of the +92kg kg pre-quarterfinals contest.
Akash started the day for India on a winning note. Playing their first match in the competition, both the boxers began with an aggressive note and traded punches continuously in a highly busy first two rounds of the 54kg Last-16 bout. The 21-year-old Indian had received a walkover in his opening match while Tirado was given bye in the first round.
The tallest among the two pugilists, Akash made good use of his height and landed some sharp punches to tilt the momentum in his favour. Having taken a comfortable lead after the first two rounds, Akash showed tactical brilliance and started maintaining distance in the final round which denied his opponent any chance to make a comeback into the match.
With just a win away from confirming medals for the country, Sanjeet will now take on Italian boxer Aziz Mouhiidine while Nishant will square off against Russia's Vadim Musaev in their respective quarter-final matches on Tuesday.
The Boxing Federation of India had fielded a 13-member contingent, with all the current national champions making into the squad, for the world's one of the biggest boxing events. While Akash, Narender, Sanjeet and Nishant have already progressed into the quarter-finals stage, five more Indian boxers will play their pre-quarterfinals on Monday.
Deepak will have a strong challenge from the Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Saken Bibossinov of Kazakhstan in the 51kg Last-16 match. Rohit Mor (57kg) too will be up against another Kazakh boxer Serik Temirzhanov while Sumit (75kg) and Akash Sangwan (67kg) will square off against Cuban opponents Yoenlis Hernandez and Kevin Brown in their respective pre-quarterfinals. The five-time Asian Championships medallist, however, will fight against France's Lounes Hamraoui in the 63.5 kg categor