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Seven Indian boxers qualify for London Olympics

Seven Indian boxers qualify for London Olympics

Sumit Sangwan became the seventh Indian to qualify when he beat Almatdault from Jordan.

New Delhi: Sumit Sangwan became the seventh Indian boxer to qualify for the London Olympics when he beat the 2009 Asian Championship bronze medallist Ihab Almatdault from Jordan 24-12 in the last-four stage of the Asian Qualifiers in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Earlier in the day, Shiva Thapa (56kg) had become the youngest Indian boxer to make the cut for London 2012 when he reached the final by beating Japan's Satoshi Simizu 31-17. The other five male boxers who will travel to the Olympics are: Vijender Singh (75 kg), L Devendro Singh (49kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Vikas Krishan (69kg), giving India its biggest ever presence at the Games.

"It was a superb performance. He was down a point in the first round due to overt aggression but did not panic and played from medium range in the next two rounds to win and win big. Most of his points came through right straight punches," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI from Astana.

A 19-year-old L Devendro Singh had booked his London berth in the last year's World Championships, tying with Debendra Singh (1996 Atlanta) as the youngest Indian boxer to make the Olympics. But the 1993-born Shiva has broken this record.

The Assam teenager, playing only his second senior international event (he won a gold in the maiden), was down 6-7 in the opening round.

But he turned the tables in the second round, taking a massive 15-6 lead. The final three minutes followed a similar script as Shiva clinched it with ease.

However, Olympic and World Championships bronze-medallist Vijender Singh (75kg), who is already assured of a London ticket, lost to Asian and Youth Olympics bronze-medallist Nursaat Pazziyev 10-7.

Vijender trailed 2-3 in the opening round as Pazziyev came up better on the accuracy graph with his combination punches.

The 19-year-old was happy to guard and counter-attack, waiting for his 26-year-old Indian rival to make the first move and he managed to widen the lead to 6-4 at the end of the second round with this tactic.

Vijender seemed determined in the last three minutes but the sheer accuracy of Pazziyev was hard to deal with for the former world number one as he settled for a bronze and an Olympic berth at the event.

In another disappointing result for India, Asian Games silver-medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg) failed to qualify for the Olympics after losing 13-6 in the semi-finals to Iran's Ali Mazaheri.

Manpreet needed to win a gold to make the London cut.

The 23-year-old was ahead 3-2 in the opening round but lost the second round 2-5. Mazaheri was spot on with his placement of jabs that penetrated Manpreet's defence.

In the final three minutes, the Iranian became more aggressive and outpunched Manpreet 6-1 to make the final.

first published:April 11, 2012, 16:20 IST