Asian silver-medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht (57kg) advanced to the pre-quarterfinals with a hard-fought win over China's Chena Zhihao in the World Men's Boxing Championships in Ekaterinburg (Russia) on Sunday.
The fifth seeded Indian left his rival with a bloodied face before the judges ruled 3-2 in his favour after an exhausting bout during which both the boxers managed to connect very few impactful punches.
The 26-year-old Indian Air Force man, who was a quarterfinalist in the 2017 Hamburg edition and is among the strongest contenders for a medal this time around, stood out for his pace and endurance during Sunday's bout.
Earlier, second seed and Asian champion Amit Panghal (52kg) and Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kaushik (63kg) advanced to the pre-quarterfinals after claiming dominating wins in their respective second-round bouts.
The world championship was meant to be an Olympic qualifier and features the revised eight weight categories (52kg, 57kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg, 81kg, 91kg, +91kg) earmarked for Tokyo 2020, instead of the traditional 10 divisions.
However, the event was stripped of that status after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) lost patience with the long-standing administrative mess in the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
The IOC took control of the Olympics qualification process, which will now start next year with the Asian qualifiers in February.