Amman (Jordan): The seasoned duo of Gaurav Solanki (57kg) and Ashish Kumar (75kg) advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the Asian Olympic Qualifiers for boxing with dominating wins in their respective opening-round bouts here Tuesday.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Solanki defeated two-time Kyrgyz national champion Akylbek Esenbek Uulu, while Asian Championship silver medallist Ashish got the better of Taiwan’s Kan Chia-Wei. Both the Indians won by identical 5-0 margins.
Ashish will square off against Kyrgyzstan’s Omurbek Bekzhigit Uulu, who has been seeded fourth. The Indian had beaten Uulu in the quarterfinals of the Asian Championships last year.
“I have played Chia-Wei before but I lost to him previously. Today I made no mistake. It was a clean performance from my side,” said Ashish after his victory.
“It has boosted my confidence especially after the good training we’ve had. I next face the fourth seed who I have beaten before and am confident of putting up a good show,” added the Indian pugilist.
Solanki, whose CWG gold was in the 52kg division, will be up against top-seeded Uzbek Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov, who got a bye into the second round.
Mirzakhalilov is the reigning World Champion in this weight category besides being a gold medallist at the 2018 Asian Games as well as the Asian Championships.
Solanki dominated from the word go, helped by Uulu’s poor defence. The Indian was relentless and accurate in his attacks, scoring mostly through clean straight punches.
World Championships silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) has been given the top billing in the men’s competition, while the iconic MC Mary Kom (51kg) is seeded second in the women’s event.
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