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Jai Bhagwan, Manoj, Devendro qualify for London Olympics

Last updated on: October 05, 2011 09:23 IST

Indian boxers packed a powerful punch, as Jai Bhagwan (60kg) joined Commonwealth Games medallists Manoj Kumar (64kg) and rookie teen sensation L Devendro Singh in qualifying for the London Olympics by advancing to the World Championships' quarter-finals with contrasting wins in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Tuesday.

In the evening session, Jai upstaged seventh seed David Joyce of Ireland 32-30 in a tense battle.

While Manoj rallied to defeat China's Qing Hu 17-15, 19-year-old Devendro continued his giant-killing spree, beating seventh seed Carlos Quipo of Ecuador 18-12 in another impressive performance.

- Manoj, Devendro win

Jai BhagwanThe trio sealed berths for the Olympic Games, becoming the first lot of Indian boxers to qualify for the mega event.

In the evening session, Jai opened his bout confidently against a higher-ranked opponent and led 13-8 in the first round. But he lost focus in the second, as his opponent roared back to notch 10 points against his seven to make it 18-20.

The third round turned out to be dramatic, as both Jai and Joyce were warned twice by the referee. While Jai was penalised for clinching too much, Joyce was docked four points for using his fist to hit Jai on the back of his head. The round ended 12-12, but the Indian came out trumps overall.

"He was of short height and it is difficult to control a guy like him because such boxers are very quick on their feet; but after I managed to secure a good lead in the opening round, I could win.

"As for warnings, it happens; I am just glad it didn't affect the result," he said.

The top 10 boxers (from 49kg to 81kg) make the Olympic cut, while boxers in the 91kg and +91kg category have to finish among the top-six to book London tickets.

But there was disappointment too for India, as Asian Games silver-medallist and 12th seed Dinesh Kumar bowed out after a 7-16 loss to Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Damien Hooper of Australia.

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