New Delhi, March 7: Feel proud of him. World Championships bronze medallist Nishant Dev opened his campaign at the 1st World Olympic Boxing Qualifier with a 3-1 win against British boxer Lewis Richardson in Busto Arsizio, Italy.

Fighting in the 71kg category, Nishant didn’t take much time to settle in against the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Richardson and went into attacking mode from the word go, winning the first round 4-1. 

The 23-year-old Indian became even more dominant in the second round with the help of his long reach and delivered some effective right hooks to win the second round 5-0 comfortably.

He put forward a controlled performance in the third round as well and avoided multiple attacks from his opponent while trying to protect his lead and ultimately won the bout with a split decision.

Earlier the six-time Asian Championships medallist Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), however, faced a tough challenge against reigning World Champion Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Abdullaev. 

Ruslan, living up to his reputation with his pinpointed punches, penetrated Shiva’s defense multiple times which forced the Indian to go on a defensive mode right from the start. 

The defensive approach didn’t last long as Abdullaev continued his attacking display before the referee stopped the contest in the first round.

Meanwhile, the national champion Lakshya Chahar (80kg) also made an exit from the competition after losing against former Asian Championships silver medallist Iran’s Gheshlaghi Meysam. 

After going down 2-3 in the first round, Lakshya fought back well in the second and was looking good in the final round as well. However, the Iranian knocked him out with just 20 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Commonwealth Games 2022 bronze medallist Jaismine (60kg) also bowed out of the competition with a 0-5 loss against Japan’s Ayaka Taguchi.

The first World Olympic boxing qualification tournament is hosting over 590 boxers and will offer a total of 49 quotas, including 28 for men and 21 for women, at the  Paris Olympics. Between 45 and 51 boxers will qualify through the second World Qualification Tournament, to be held in Bangkok from May 23 to June 3.

India have already secured four quotas for Paris 2024 with Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Preeti (54kg), Parveen Hooda (57kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (75kg) confirming their berths with impressive performances.

 

HSB

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