Almaty, Kazakhstan: Olympian Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and Vikash Malik (60kg) fought through intense bouts to enter the pre-quarterfinals but Mandeep Jangra (69kg) bowed out after a stiff second-round contest on a mixed day for India in the World Boxing Championships here on Sunday.
While Sumit stunned ninth seed Petru Ciobanu of Moldova 2-1, Vikash got the better of Poland's Dawid Michelus by a similar margin to be just two wins away from ensuring a medal.
Vikash opened the day for India and registered a hard-fought win over Michelus. Michelus won the opening round unanimously but the Indian came back strongly to clinch the second.
In the intensely-contested final three minutes, Michelus began to lose the plot and ended up getting warned for head-butting and evasive tactics. That tilted the scales in Vikash's favour, handing him the victory.
"It was a close bout no doubt but Vikash played aggressively and this win will definitely boost his morale. In the third round, Michelus was cautioned several times for his tactics but when he didn't relent then he was warned," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI.
Vikash will face fifth seed Miklos Varga of Hungary in the last-16 stage on Tuesday.
Next up was Olympian Sumit and he continued his ascending march by stunning Ciobanu of Moldova.
"Sumit also endured a tough bout. The other guy was a southpaw and very tough. But Sumit used his uppercuts to good effect and strategised well in all the three rounds," said Sandhu.
Sumit will now face eighth seed Siarhei Novikau of Belarus in the pre-quarters tomorrow Mandeep Jangra (69kg) then took the ring against Serdar Hudaberdiyev of Turkmenistan and even he held a slender one-point lead after the opening round but a warning cost him dearly in the next.
"Mandeep's opponent sustained a cut in the second round and Mandeep was warned after this and it was difficult to come back after that," Sandhu said.
On Saturday late in the evening session, national champion Satish Kumar (+91kg) also booked a prequarters berth when he defeated Tajikistan's Mirodzhidin Karimov 3-0 in the opening round. Satish will face Belarus' Yan Sudzilouski in the next round.
With this, the number of Indian boxers in the pre-quarters has gone up to eight after Asian Games silver-medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg), Commonwealth Games champion Manoj Kumar (64kg), former Asian Championships silver-medallist Thokchom Nanao Singh (49kg) and reigning Asian champion Shiva Thapa (56kg) ensured their respective last-16 berths.
Of the eight, Nanao, Shiva, Manpreet and Manoj will be in action on Monday.
India has won just two medals at the World Championships thus far. Both the medals were bronze won by Vijender Singh and Vikas Krishan in the 2009 and 2011 editions respectively.