Asian Boxing Oly q'fiers: Solanki, Ashish win opening bouts
India got off to a flying start with reigning Commonwealth Games champion Gaurav Solanki (57kg) and Asian Championships silver medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg) registering commanding victories in their first round matches. Both pugilists won their opening bouts by unanimous decisions, although Ashish conceded the first round by a split call.
While Solanki beat Esenbek Uulu of Kyrgyzstan, Ashish beat Chinese Taipei's Kan Chia-Wei.
Solanki brought his attacking game to the fore and unleashed jabs and punches from the very beginning. The second round turned out to be more competitive with the Kyrgyz boxer showing more aggression but Solanki's patience helped him sail through that.
The exertion in the second round took a toll on the Kyrgyz pugilist, who looked visibly exhausted towards the end of the bout, where Solanki was declared the winner by points.
Solanki will need to be at his flawless best as he next faces the top seed and world champion Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan, who is also the reigning Asian champion.
Ashish was tentative in the first round and three of the five judges ended up declaring his opponent as the winner at the end of the first round. However, he took control of the bout in the second round, using his superior height to wear down his opponent. It was more of the same in the third round and Ashish's unanimous wins in both helped him seal a 5-0 win overall. He will face fourth seed Bekzhigit Uulu of Kyrgyzstan in his next round.
8 men and 5 women from India are in the hunt for a coveted Tokyo Olympic berth at this continental event, being conducted by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Boxing Task Force. IANS