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7 Indians enter quarters of Mongolian boxing tourney

Shiva Thapa (60kg) and L Sarita Devi (60kg) were among the prominent winners as seven Indian boxers entered the quarterfinals to ensure a resounding start for the country at the Ulaanbaatar Cup Tournament in Mongolia on Wednesday.

Ashish (64kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg), Salman Sheikh (52kg) and Etash Khan (56kg) joined Shiva in the quarters after clinching contrasting victories.

In the women’s draw, national champion Sarjubala Devi (51kg) and veteran Sarita Devi made the last-eight stage.

Three-time Asian medallist Shiva out-punched local hope Oyunbileg Munkhsaikhan in a unanimous verdict, while Salman took just two rounds to brush aside Korean Young Sik Bae’s challenge.

Ashish was given a tough time by local hope Mendsaikhan Batbayar before he prevailed 3-2, Mandeep gave quite a thrashing to Chinese Taipei’s Hung Ming Pan in his win that took just about two rounds to come through. Also advancing with a split verdict was Etash Khan (56kg), edging past Mongolian Bat-Ochir Munkhdalai.

All the seven boxers are now just one win away from securing themselves a medal. Next up for Shiva is Kyrgyzstan’s Ravshanbek. Salman, on the other hand, will square off against local favourite Gankhuyag Gan-Erdene in the last-eight stage.

Ashish and Mandeep will face Mongolians in Baatarsukh Chinzorig and Bhatkhuyag Sukhkhuyag respectively in the quarterfinals.

Salman, who opened the proceedings for India, was aggressive from the first ring of the bell. Salman unsettled Young with relentless flurry of punches and his withering attack on the Korean, as he lay trapped on the ropes, stood out in the opening round.

Shiva, on the other hand, was trademark reticent to start with before building the momentum. The Assam-boxer, one of India’s only four to have won a medal at the World Championships, gradually overpowered his opponent, all the while maintaining a watertight guard.

His aggressive side came to the fore in the final three minutes and the result was his rival facing a standing eight count.

The boxer is on a comeback trail after missing out on selection for the Commonwealth Games and had notched up an impressive win in the World Series of Boxing in April.

In the evening session, Sarjubala defeated China’s Yu Yahong before Sarita got the better of Monogolian Purevjav Davaa. Both the world championships medal-winners produced confident performances to secure unanimous wins.

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