Asian champion Sanjeet (92kg) defeated Russia's Andrei Stotskii in a thoroughly entertaining contest to enter the pre-quarterfinals, while Akash Kumar (54kg) got a walkover into that stage on a good day for Indians at the AIBA Men's World Boxing Championships in Belgrade on Friday. (More Sports News)
Akash advanced after his German opponent Omar Salah Ibrahim fell ill and gave him a walkover here on Friday. He will face Puerto Rico's Pagan Caleb Tirado in the last-16 stage.
"His opponent did not show up for the weigh-in this morning as he was sick. Something like what happened to us in Varinder Singh's case. In that case, we suffered, today we gained," India High Performance Director Santiago Nieva told PTI.
Varinder had to pull out of his 60kg category bout due to high fever but he tested negative for COVID-19.
Sanjeet put up quite a show in the 4-1 win over Stotskii, who was not a pushover by any measure.
The Indian, however, was the more attacking of the two, at least in the first two rounds.
Sanjeet displayed some flamboyance to go with his skills, dropping his guard completely to taunt Stotskii on more than one occasion.
The two exchanged blows but also smiled frequently at each other, fighting at a languid but engaging pace.
Late last night, Akash Sangwan (67kg) recorded a confident 4-1 victory against German pugilist Daniel Krotter to also enter the pre-quarterfinals. The 21-year-old will square off against Cuban boxer Kevin Brown.
In a late night bout, Nishant Dev (71kg) will square off against Mauritian Merven Clair, also looking to secure a pre-quarterfinal berth.
On Saturday, five-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (63.5kg) will be in action alongside three other Indians. Thapa will fight Sierra Leone's John Brown in the round of 32.
Sumit (75kg) will take on Tajikistan's Abdumalik Boltaev, while Sachin (80kg) will open against American Robby Gonzales. Both these bouts are also round of 32 contests.
Govind Sahani (48kg) will compete in the pre-quarterfinals against Georgia's Sakhil Alakhverdovi.
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.