Balwinder Beniwal (64kg) is the third Indian boxer to make it to the semi-finals at the 2011 ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships in Incheon, South Korea.
However, while the 2008 Youth Commonwealth gold medallist got in line for his second international medal with a resounding triumph, the other three Indian boxers in the fray on Day 9 of the competition fell by the wayside.
Asian Championship debutants Santosh Harijan (52kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg) and Arun Hooda (+91kg) saw their hopes of making it to the medal round dashed, as they finished on the losing end, in the round of eight in their respective weight categories.
Commonwealth champion Paramjeet Samota (91kg) and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Amandeep Singh (49kg) made it to the last four stage on Monday.
Beniwal, who got a walk over in the previous round, was up against Aamir Khan of Pakistan, in quarter-finals of the light-welterweight division. The 20-year-old, who was eliminated at the same stage of the tournament in the 2009 edition at China, exhibited exceptional skill and agility as he hammered the Pakistani boxer in a one-sided contest.
Khan, who competed at the last AIBA World Championships and Asian Games, had no answer to Balwinder's hard-hitting punches. The Indian won 28:11 on points. The also assures him of at least a bronze medal. He will now take on Munkherdene Vranchimeg of Mangolia in the semis.
But the day did not turn out as well for Santosh, Mandeep and Arun.
Battling in the flyweight division, Santosh was up against Yong Chang of China. National Games champion Santosh, who's had a fairly good year so far, lost crucial points early in the bout. Although he put up a spirited performance in the last round, trying to mount a comeback, he was unsuccessful and lost 11:14.
In the welterweight category, Mandeep was up against Rustam Svayev of Kazakhstan. The strong Kazak boxer's offensive approach did not allow Mandeep to play his natural game. The 18-year-old tried hard to get a few combinations going, but Rustam, a quarter-finalist at the AIBA World Championships, was relentless in his attack and ended Mandeep's campaign with a 21:13 victory.
Arun Hooda, also making his first appearance at the biennial event, came up short against Dosjan Ospanov of Kazakhstan, in the super-heavyweight division. The 23-year-old was down two points after the opening three minutes, but did well to come back in the second and win it 6:4, leveling the scores. The third, though, completely belonged to the Kazakh. In the end Arun lost 15:21.
With Samota (91kg) and Amandeep (49kg) having already qualified for the semi-finals, India has representation in three weight categories in the semis on August 11.