TASHKENT: Top seed Vikas Krishan (75kg) took barely a couple of minutes to book his quarterfinal berth as Indian boxers began their campaign on a positive note at the Asian Boxing Championships here today.
Vikas, a silver-medallist in the previous edition, sailed past Thailand's Pathomsak Kuttiya after his opponent sustained a cut above his left eye just over a minute into the opening round.
The bout was halted twice before the referee decided to stop the contest in favour of the Indian. The former World Championships bronze-medallist will face Indonesia's Betaubun Brama Hendra in the last-eight stage.
Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) also defeated a Thai in his first contest, going past Yuttapong Tongdee in a points decision. Gaurav has a tough bout coming up as he will be squaring off against second seed Jiawei Hang of China.
Amit Phangal (49kg), a bronze-medallist from the Strandja Memorial Tournament (Bulgaria) in February, had no trouble beating Afghanistan's Ramish Rahmani in his opening contest.
However, it was curtains for Asian youth silver-winner Ashish Kumar (64kg), who was defeated by Uzbekistan's Ikboljon Kholdarov.
All the four were competing in the pre-quarterfinal stage after getting first-round byes.
The tournament, featuring 179 boxers from 28 countries, is a qualifier for the August-September World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. The top-six in each of the 10 weight categories will make the cut for the big event.
Tomorrow, fourth seed Shiva Thapa (60kg), third seed Satish Kumar (+91kg), sixth seed Manoj Kumar (69kg), Manish Panwar (81kg) and Kavinder Singh (49kg) will open their campaign in the tournament.
Shiva, a World Championships bronze-medallist and a two- time medallist at the Asian meet, will face Kyrgyzstan's Omurbek Malabekov.
Manoj, a former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, will fight it out against Afghanistan's Allah Rahimi.
Satish will face the winner of the match between Mongolia's Yerbolat Tulyek and Kazakhstan's Kamshybek Kunkabayev.
Manish will be up against Sri Lanka's Ambagasange Gunarathna, while Indonesia's Aldoms Suguro awaits Kavinder.
India had won four medals at the last Asian Championships in 2015. Vikas had won the country its lone silver medal, while Shiva, Devendro and Satish (+91kg) had settled for bronze medals.
India's last gold medal at the Asian meet had come in 2013 through Shiva, when he was competing in the bantamweight division. Prior to that M Suranjoy Singh (52kg) had won a gold medal in the 2009 edition of the Championship.