National champion Duryodhan Singh Negi (69kg) made a winning debut to advance to the second round of the AIBA Men’s World Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia on Friday. Negi had to work hard to achieve a 4-1 victory over Armenia’s Koryun Astoyan and set up a second-round showdown with Jordan’s sixth seed Zeyad Eashash, who had got a first-round bye.
Negi started slow and started becoming more aggressive towards the end of the first round. The Indian then resorted to the tactic of staying low against his tall and muscular opponent to deliver his combination blows. Even though he retreated into a defensive mode in the third round and put up his guard against the Armenian pugilist, he managed to successfully land a flurry of punches at the very end to secure the win.
The 33-year-old Makran Cup silver medallist was the only Indian in action on Day 5 of the AIBA Men’s World Championships. He becomes the third Indian to win his first round bout at this prestigious tournament, joining Manish Kaushik (63kg) and Brijesh Yadav (81kg).
On Thursday, Kaushik notched up a convincing 5-0 win over Kyrgyzstan’s Argen Ullu Kadyrbek while Brijesh had dominated Poland's Maleusz Goinski a couple of days earlier. On Saturday, Asian Games champion Amit Panghal (52kg) and Asian Championships silver medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg) will begin their medal quests against Taipei’s Tu Po-Wei and China’s Tanglatihan Tuohetaerbieke respectively after receiving byes in the opening round.
Panghal, Kumar and Kavinder Singh Bisht (57kg) have been seeded this time as a total of four Indian boxers got first-round byes at this elite championship where 488 athletes from 89 countries will be vying for medals.