Almaty, Kazakhstan: Indian boxers continued to touch new highs at the World Championships here as three of them entered the quarterfinals on an all-win day on Tuesday to take the total number to an unprecedented five.
Vikash Malik (60kg, in pic), Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) joined Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) in the quarterfinals, making it one better than the previous best achieved in the 2011 edition in Azerbaijan.
"It is a historic performance. I mean, we have won medals but as far as reaching this level is concerned, it is the first time that five Indians have made the quarterfinals," an elated national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI.
"We are getting standing ovations from fans here. It is very thrilling and something that makes you feel very proud," he said.
Vikash was the first Indian boxer to step into the ring today and was the underdog against fifth seed and former 2008 European Championships silver-medallist Miklos Varga.
The Indian trailed by a couple of points in the opening round but made a stupendous recovery in the next two rounds, clinching them unanimously to emerge triumphant.
Vikash has another tough bout at hand as he will be facing Brazil's Robson Conceicao, a former Pan-American Games silver-medallist who has been seeded fourth here.
"Vikash fought tempo-style in all the three rounds. He prefers to be aggressive and even though it was little even in the opening round, Vikash dominated the second and third round," Sandhu said.
"He mostly employed his straight punches and uppercuts to good effect. In fact, Vikash did not give any chance or time to the Hungarian boxer to regain his composure. It is a great win," Sandhu said.
Next in was Sumit and it never looked that he was facing an opponent more fancied than him.
The 20-year-old Olympian handed out a thrashing to eighth seed Siarhei Novikau of Belarus in a lop-sided contest which the Indian claimed 3-0.
"I played my natural game of back-peddling and hitting straights. I kept a distance and hit on every opportunity that I got. It helped that I knew I was leading," Sumit said.
"Sumit's mantra was to hit and dodge craftily. He mostly used his left straights and his technique was excellent," added Sandhu.
Sumit is also in for a very tough contest in the quarterfinal as he would be fighting it out against London Olympics silver-medallist and top seed Adilbek Niyazymbetov of Kazakhstan.
The local favourite had won a silver medal in the previous edition of the World Champiobnships.
"I have seen his fights and hopefully I will be well-prepared to tackle him. I am not initimidated by his past record," said Sumit.
The last Indian in the ring today was Satish and the imposing pugilist outpunched Belarus' Yan Sudzilouski 3-0.
"Satish mostly used his straight punches in what seemed like a street fight. It was an entertaining bout but satish ended up sustaining a cut above his right eye. Hopefully he would be fine to fight the quarterfinal tomorrow," said Sandhu.
Satish will be up against London Olympics bronze-medallist and local hero Ivan Dychko, who has been seeded second here.
Indian boxers' performance so far is a creditable one given that they cannot compete under the national flag due to the federation's provisional suspension.
India have won a total of two medals at the World Championships -- through Vijender Singh (2009) and Vikas Krishan (2011).
Story first published on: Tuesday, 22 October 2013 19:18 IST