New Delhi: Indian boxer Akhil Kumar out-punched Nauru's Maakal Dj to enter the semifinals and assure himself of at least a bronze medal at the Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia on Wednesday.
The former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist won the bout 19-14 to make the last-four stage in the biennial event where India is participating for the first time.
The 29-year-old, who is competing in his first international event after the disappointment of losing in the quarterfinals of the Commonwealth Games last year in Delhi, would have won by a bigger margin but for a couple of warnings he got in the final round of the bout.
Akhil led 6-3 in the opening round and made it 12-7 in the next three minutes before closing it off at 19-14. The Haryana boxer will face Australian Ibrahim Balla in the semifinals on Thursday.
"Once again, my uppercuts got me most of the points. I wouldn't say it was the best of me fighting there but I guess it was good enough for this bout," Akhil told PTI from Darwin.
"I got two warnings in the final round. My opponent was of short height and some of my uppercuts hit him below the waistline which resulted in the warning," he explained. Akhil's win continues Indian boxers' fine performance in the event.
Earlier, Vijender Singh won his quarterfinal bout in the light heavy weight (81kg) division on Tuesday to set up a clash with Sam Rapira of New Zealand on Thursday.
Among the women, Pooja Rani (75kg) and Meena Rani (60kg) are already through to semi finals to assure themselves of medals.
However, rookie Ajay Kumar (75kg) lost in the quarterfinals to crash out of the event.