Rio de Janeiro: Vikas Krishnan stood a winaway from an elusive Olympic medal as the Indian outclassed Turkey’s Sipal Onder 3-0 to comfortably advance to the quarterfinals of men’s 75kg middleweight boxing at the Rio Games here. The 24-year-old Indian started off with some counter punches in a fast-paced round one in Pavilion 6 at Riocentro, and he carried on the momentum throughout to emerge triumphant.
With 38 seconds to go the Turkish had to take a break to treat his bleeding eye, which reflected Vikas’s complete domination of the first round. The second round was no different as Sipal, a 29-year-old veteran who had a close win over Benny Muziyo of Zambia in his opener, took a defensive stance and tried to keep a distance to avoid Vikas’ jabs.
The former Asian Games gold medallist, on the other hand, continued his steady progress and at the same time was cautious enough to thwart Sipal’s counter punches. In the pre-quarterfinals, Vikas seemed the more assured boxer and will face his stiffest challenge against Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan, who has also beaten the Indian in the final of the 2015 Asian Championships.
Melikuziev is the 2015 World Championship silver medallist and 2014 Youth Olympic Games champion. The Uzbek, who was named 2015 Best Male Boxer by the Asian Boxing Confederation, defeated Daniel Lewis of Australia. Vikas buried the ghosts of London 2012 where he was eliminated in the preliminary round, despite initially being declared the winner. PTI
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