Manish Kaushik and Sachin Kumar won their bouts in the lightweight (57-63 kgs) and light heavyweight (75-81 kg) divisions respectively to keep India’s unbeaten run at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers intact.
Birthday boy Manish Kaushik faced Chu-En Lai in what was real a dust-up that saw the Indian inflict some serious damage from his southpaw stance. He landed the heavier punches in all three rounds and won by unanimous decision.
Sachin Kumar’s bout with Dee Ioapo followed a similar pattern with the Indian boxer dominating all three rounds to move into the next round via unanimous decision.
Manish Kaushik establishes authority in first two rounds
Chu-En Lai made a blistering start out of his corner, going hell for leather and pushing Manish Kaushik back in the opening exchanges.
However, once the Indian southpaw gained his composure, he began coming off better in the close exchanges.
The Chinese Taipei pugilist kept on throwing punches, but Manish Kaushik’s smart punch picking did more damage.
A couple of left hooks, several jabs and a well-timed lead right by Manish Kaushik before the end of the first round had significantly slowed down Chu-En Lai and won the Indian boxer the opening round 4-1.
Chu-En Lai looked to begin the second round in a similar manner to the first, but the Indian lightweight started getting in more counter punches than he did at the beginning of the first.
Undeterred, the Chinese Taipei boxer continued to advance, even managing to get in a heavy right to the body of the Indian.
The southpaw, though, had found his range in the second round and seemed to have an answer for everything Chu-En Lai threw.
A vicious left by Manish Kaushik jolted Chu-En Lai’s head back towards the midway point of the round. Another eye-catching shot in the second round was an educated uppercut that broke through Chu-En Lai’s guard.
And while Chu-En Lai continued to display a lot of competitiveness by refusing to back down, it was Manish Kaushik that won the second round 4-1 again.
Birthday boy sails into the quarters
Chu-En Lai, predictably, came out all guns blazing in the final round, but the 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist had the measure of him as he blocked and clinched to take away the sting from his opponent, while also connecting with a few shots of his own.
The Chinese Taipei fought spiritedly till the final bell, however, it wasn’t enough to prevent a unanimous decision win for Manish Kaushik.
Manish Kaushik, who will face third seed Chinzorig Baatarsukh in the next round of the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers for a spot in the 2020 Olympics, spoke to Olympic Channel after the bout.
“I’ve faced this opponent before and I’ve beaten him but this time the strategy is different and I’m glad that it worked. He was really fast in the beginning and that was difficult for me but eventually he slowed down and I got the win,” he said.
Sachin Kumar follows suit
The second bout of the evening session featuring an Indian at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers saw light heavyweight Sachin Kumar fighting Samoa’s Dee Ioapo.
Following a patient start to the bout by both boxers, Sachin Kumar started to find his feet after a wicked left cross to the Samoan’s face.
The Indian light heavyweight was happy to maintain and was coming off better in the exchanges with right-left combinations.
He grew in confidence as the round progressed, delivering a looping left that raised Dee Ioapo’s chin and had him stumbling on the back foot briefly.
Sachin Kumar ended the round with a left straight followed by a right hook to cap off a dominant display, which the judges scored 5-0 in his favour.
It was more of the same in the second round as well with Sachin Kumar getting in heavy left-right combinations, just like he did in the first.
Ramrod jabs to the body and powerful straight lefts to the head kept pushing the Samoan back and led to another 5-0 unanimous win for Sachin Kumar in the second round.
Desperate to somehow get back in the fight, Dee Ioapo tried to close the distance and fight from close range, even finding some success in the process.
However, Sachin Kumar continued to land heavy punches frequently and later in the round looked to conserve his energy safe in the knowledge that he was well ahead in the judge’s scorecards.
“I started off well and will keep doing the same going ahead,” Sachin Kumar told the Olympic Channel after the match. “I am satisfied with my performance, but I will aim to do even better going ahead. I will sit down with my coaches and draw out a plan on how to go about the bout.
“I’m extremely happy that I’m representing my country and I’m looking forward to qualifying for the Olympics,” he signed off for the day.
Sachin Kumar will face China’s Daxaing Chen in his next bout in the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers quarter-final.
When and where to watch the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers
You can follow all the action from the Asia/Oceania Boxing Qualification live exclusively on the Olympic Channel as well as our Facebook page. The morning session will get underway at 1:30 PM IST while the evening session is scheduled to begin at 8:30 PM IST.
You can also follow the daily live blog in both English and Hindi on the Olympic Channel.