Boxers Manoj, Sumit advance at Olympic qualifiers

Baku (Azerbaijan), June 21 (IANS) Indian boxers Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg) won their respective pre-quarterfinals bouts at the World Qualifying Tournament here on Tuesday.

Manoj defeated Smetov Ayrin Smetov of Bulgaria 2-1, while Sumit thrashed Mongolia’s Sandagsuren Erdenebayar 3-0. Both will be assured of Olympic berths if they win their respective quarter-final bouts on Thursday.

Former World Championships bronze-medallist Vikas Krishan (75kg) also entered the pre-quarterfinals with a 3-0 win over Japan’s Takahashi Makoto late on Monday night.

Manoj struggled in the early stages of his bout wih Ismetov winning the first round. But Manoj fought back to win the next two rounds.

He will now face Rakhimov Shavkatdzhon of Tajikistan in the last eight stage. Rakhimov defeated Williams Rashield of Bahrain in the pre-quarterfinals.

Later in the day, Sumit produced a power-packed performance to ease past Erdenebayar in his pre-quarterfinal contest. Petr Khamukov of Russia, who defeated Slovakia’s Denis Lazer Sumit in the last-16 stage, will face Sumit in the quarter-finals.

The ongoing tournament offers a total of 39 Olympic spots. The flyweight (52 kg), bantamweight (56 kg), lightweight (60 kg), light welterweight (64 kg), welterweight (69 kg), middleweight (75 kg) and light heavyweight (81 kg) categories will see the top five boxers in each class make the cut for Rio while both finalists in the light flyweight (49 kg) division will qualify.

However, only the gold medal winners in the heavyweight (91 kg) and super heavyweight (91+ kg) divisions will be able to travel to Rio de Janeiro.

–IANS

ajb/vt

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