Panghal, Kaushik storm into last 8

Ekaterinburg (Russia) (PTI): Asian Games gold-medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) and Commonwealth Games silver-winner Manish Kaushik (63kg) advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Men's Boxing Championships after clinching comprehensive wins here on Tuesday.

While Panghal defeated Turkey's Batuhan Citfci, Kaushik stunned fourth-seeded Mongolian Chinzorig Baatarsukh, who is an Asian Games silver-medallist and also a two-time medal-winner at the Asian Championships. Both the Indians claimed 5-0 victories.

While Panghal is chasing a medal in his second world championship, Kaushik is making his debut at the showpiece. Both are Armymen.

The second-seeded Panghal, the reigning Asian champion, will next be up against Filipino Carlo Paalam, who had lost to Panghal in the semifinals of the Asian Games in Jakarta last year.

Paalam defeated Korea's Jo Sehyeong in a unanimous verdict in his pre-quarterfinal bout. Kaushik, on the other hand, will square off against Brazil's Wanderson de Oliveira. Oliveira defeated Japan's Saisuke Narimatsu in his last-16 stage bout.

"It was a good bout as I fought against an experienced boxer. I will be ready with my strategy for Paalam tomorrow. I dedicate this win to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is celebrating his 69th birthday today," Panghal said after the bout.

Panghal was the first to take the ring for India and in a contest which didn't have much of action to start with, he set the ball rolling by using his left hooks to good effect in the opening round.

Citfci seemed focussed on a plan to counter-attack but couldn't execute it. This was despite the fact that Panghal was lunging at the taller boxer to connect his left straights. Despite managing to draw the Indian in, Citfci consistently failed to make any impactful contact with his opponent, whose trademark pace was once again on display.

Kaushik, a former national champion, adopted a more cautious approach and waited for his rival to reach out. Baatarsukh fell into the trap quite early and was unable to cope with the Indian's counter-attack.

Kaushik didn't change his tactics and the consistent approach paid off for him as frustration became apparent in Baatarsukh's game. Kaushik dominated him in the final three minutes.

Panghal, a two-time gold-medallist at the prestigious Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria, had finished a quarterfinalist in the 2017 world championship.

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