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Manoj Kumar in second round of AIBA Olympic qualifier

June 17, 2016 17:40 IST

Manoj KumarFormer Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) clinched a hard-fought victory but two other Indian boxers bowed out after losing in the first round at the AIBA World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Manoj defeated Puerto Rico's Danielito Zorrila de la Rosa in the light-welterweight (64kg) category 2-1 to enter the second round, where he is up against second seed Mohamed Eslam Ahmed Aly of Egypt on Sunday.

"It was a brilliant performance by Manoj. Danielito was cautioned repeatedly for head-butting dangerously and it was to Manoj's credit that he kept his composure. Especially in the third round, Manoj got his strategy perfectly right by fighting from the long range," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said.

However, Gaurav Bidhuri (52kg) lost 0-3 to Antonio Vargas of the United States in his opening bout.

He can still have a shot at Olympic qualification by competing in the final qualifying tournament for professional boxers in Venezuela next month.

Bidhuri, who has competed in the World Series of Boxing for two back-to-back seasons, is eligible for the qualifiers, which will feature pro boxers from around the world.

In the wee hours of Thursday night, Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Mandeep Jangra (69kg) also lost, to Spaniard Youba Sissokho Ndiaye 1-2.

"Both of them fought their hearts out, but, unfortunately, they could not get the desired results," Sandhu said.

Asian Games gold medallist Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Commonwealth Games silver medallist L Devendro Singh (49kg) are the only Indians seeded in the event's draw.

Devendro was seeded fourth and Vikas second; both got first-round byes in their respective categories.

They open their campaigns on June 20 against yet-to-be decided opponents.

The tournament has 39 qualifying spots up for grabs -- two in the 49kg category, five each in 52kg, 56kg, 60kg, 64kg, 69kg, 75kg and 81kg and just one each in 91kg and +91kg.

Over 400 boxers from more than 100 countries are vying for these slots in the final qualifying tournament for amateur boxers.

India hasn’t sent an entry in the 56kg category as Shiva Thapa had qualified for the Rio Games during the Asian qualifiers in March.

Image: Manoj Kumar

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