It was a disappointing first session for Indian boxers in the World Championship quarterfinals as the seeded duo of Asian champion Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) lost their bouts while Satish Kumar (+91kg) was declared medically unfit here today.
While fourth seed Shiva went down to Azerbaijan's Javid Chalabiyev, sixth seed Manoj was beaten by Cuba's Yasnier Lopez. Both the boxers lost by a similar margin of 0-3.
Satish, on the other hand, received a cut above his right eye during yesterday's pre-quarterfinal win, ruling him out for today giving London Olympics bronze-medallist and local hero Ivan Dychko a walkover into the semifinals.
Shiva was the first to take the ring and he made an energetic start, showcasing some fine ring craft to wriggle out when cornered but Chalabiyev's aggression got him the judges' approval as he clinched the first round 30-28.
In the second round, both the boxers tried to counter-attack but ended up clinching and holding each other for the majority of the time. There was hardly any aggression on display but Chalabiyev managed to have the upperhand in this round too.
In the final three minutes, Shiva tried to go all out and did manage to connect some clear blows but Chalabiyev mostly indulged in clinching to halt the pace of the proceedings.
The Azerbaijan boxer was cautioned quite a few times for his tactics but with a 2-0 cushion to fall back on, Chalabiyev decided to play it safe.
"It is disappointing but hopefully Shiva will learn from this experience. There was nothing extraordinary about the Azerbaijan boy, he was just a normal counter-puncher," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI.
Next man in was Manoj and he put up a valiant fight against Cuba's Olympic bronze-medallist Yasnier Lopez in all the three rounds but still ended up on the losing side.
"Manoj boxed boxed mostly on the long and medium range and gave his best. It was a good performance even though he lost," Sandhu said.
"He gave a very good account of himself in the bout," he added.