New Delhi: Asian Championships silver medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg) knocked out the fourth seed Bekzhigit Uulu Omurbek of Kyrgyzstan 5-0 while World Championships bronze medallist Manish Kaushik pummelled Chinese Taipei's Lai Chu-En by the same scoreline to move into the quarter-finals of the Asian/Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan on Thursday. Both now need one more win to secure their Tokyo Olympic tickets.
Having defeated the World No.15 on his way to winning the silver at the Asian Championships last year, the 16th ranked Ashish Kumar came into this bout with a lot of confidence. He started slow as the Kyrgyz raced off the blocks to land a flurry of jabs on the Indian.
But once he settled down into the match, Ashish was able to connect better than his opponent. While the first round did go his way, the undeterred Omurbek came storming back to use his right-hand punches effectively and bounced back into the bout.
The final round was a heavily one-sided affair in favour of the Indian whose smart defensive tactic did not allow his opponent to land his blows. The contest ended with a great show of sportsmanship with the two boxers hugging and posing for the cameramen together.
"The bout went really well for me. Very happy with this win. I'll prepare the strategies well to face my next opponent. It will be really important as I am just one win away from making it to Tokyo. I'll give my absolute best to make my Olympic dream come true," said Ashish after his victory.
Ashish will next face Indonesia's Maikhel Roberrd Muskita for a place in the semis and to confirm his Tokyo Olympics berth.
Manish Kaushik (63kg) was equally impressive in his opening bout against Chinese Taipei's Lai Chu-En. Showing his sharpness, Kaushik rode on his barrage of attacking punches to sail away to a commanding victory. He next faces third seed and Asian Games silver medallist Chinzorig Baatarsukh of Mongolia for a place in the semis.
Later in the day, Sachin Kumar (81kg) will take on Samoa's Ioapa Dee.
On Friday, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Naman Tanwar (91kg) will start their quest.