Shiva Thapa came from behind to notch a stunning knockout victory, while Vikas Krishan out-witted his more fancied rival in an exhausting match to enter the quarterfinals on an all-win day for Indian boxers at the World Championships here on Thursday. (Read more boxing stories here)
Asian silver-medallist Vikas (75kg) got the better of European Championship silver medal winner and fourth seeded Pole Tomasz Jablonski 2-1. Shiva (56kg), on the other hand, rallied to defeat the African champion Mohamed Hamout of Morocco to make the last-eight stage.
The 21-year-old Shiva will be next up against Qatar's Hakan Erseker, who beat Vanuatu's Boe Warawara 2-1. The 23-year-old Vikas, meanwhile, will face Egypt's Hosam Abdin.
"Shiva was exceptionally good with his hooks and that eventually won him the bout. Even his combination punches on counter-attack were very accurate. It's a very rare knockout win for an Indian boxer, I can't recall any in my memory," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said.
"Vikas boxed superbly. The Polish guy was a tempo boxer but Vikas applied his mind well. He used uppercuts to the chin and occasional right hooks with precision."
First up in the ring for India today was Shiva and in a terrific win, the Assam boxer knocked out his rival 26 seconds into the third and final round of the bout with a brutal left hook which landed right in between the eyes of Hamout.
The Moroccan instantly collapsed in the ring, leading to an eight count following which medical attendants escorted him out in a disoriented state.
But it was not as smooth to start with for Shiva. Both the boxers went into the attacking mode from the first bell itself and in the opening three minutes, the judges ruled in favour of the Moroccan despite an even contest.
However, the Indian, a former silver-medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, remained relentless in his attack in the second round and drew level via a split decision.
In the decisive third round, Shiva, also a former Asian champion, sealed the issue with a precise left hook, which caught Hamout completely off-guard.
Vikas, in contrast, drained his rival out with a brilliant counter-attacking strategy. Fighting with a shell guard, the 2011 World Championships bronze winner lapped up his chances meticulously with some well-connected uppercuts.
The clean straight hitting got him the scores as Vikas out-ran Jablonski in the first two rounds.
However, Jablonski fought back in the third round and won it unanimously but Vikas emerged the overall winner owing to his early lead.
"The plan was always to stand up tall and punch hard. I know that my opponent is a WSB regular and it was necessary to show that I was up for the fight. I wanted to do all the hitting today, dominate the first two rounds and I am happy that I have managed to do that," Vikas said at the end of the match.
Vikas lost the third round to the Pole but added that he believed he had done enough to secure a comfortable victory.
"There was no real point in going all out in the third round. I knew I had landed some good punches, left my mark and I just wanted my defence to hold tight. It was a tactical call and it came off well," he said.