India's top boxer Vijender Singh was knocked out after an intense second-round contest on a day of mixed fortunes for India that saw Shiva Thapa and comeback-man Nanao Singh punch their way in to the pre-quarters at the World Boxing Championships in Almaty. Kazakhstan.
Vijender (75kg), the first Indian boxer to bag medals at the World Championship and the Olympics, went down to reigning European champion and fifth seed Jason Quigley of Ireland.
"It was a very close fight and in my mind, I have not lost. I gave my best and I believe that I did not deserve to lose," Vijender, who fought through viral fever in his opening bout said.
"I have faced this boxer before on international trips and no doubt he is good but I don't think I should have lost today. But it's OK, I will put this behind me and ensure a win the next time I face him," he said.
However, former Asian Championships silver-medallist Nanao (49kg) and reigning Asian champion Shiva (56kg) ensured that India had reason to smile by making the last-16 stage.
Nanao, after getting a first-round bye, made a perfect start on the day as he defeated Scotland's Aqeel Ahmed 3-0.
Nanao, a former cadet world champion whose rise was stalled by a spate of injuries, will be fighting it out against fifth seed Anthony Chacon Rivera of Puerto Rico on Monday.
Shiva, who is seeded fourth, then got the better of Filipino Mario Fernandez. Shiva had also got a bye in the opening round. Shiva will face Argentina's Alberto Melian on Monday.
"All of these boys fought very well, but while Shiva and Nanao won, Vijender ended up on the losing side. Each one of them were excellent and gave it their all. Vijender also fought very well," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said.
Vijender's loss put a dampener to the good work done by the other boxers. He trailed by a point in each of the first two rounds and ended up getting warned for hitting a low blow in the final three minutes.
"I did not deserve the warning because if you look at the recording of the bout in slow motion, you can make out that I did not hit any low blows. But then just one of those days," said Vijender.
"It is disappointing but then I will pick myself up and move on. It is part and parcel of any sportsperson's life," he added.
Shiva and Nanao, on the other hand, dominated their respective bouts and sailed into the next level.
With this, the number of Indian boxers in the pre-quarters has gone up to four after Asian Games silver-medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg) and Commonwealth Games champion Manoj Kumar (64kg) earlier booked their last-16 stage berths.
Image: Vijender Singh
Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters