Young Indian pugilist Nishant Dev produced a power-packed performance and recorded a scintillating victory to advance to the pre-quarterfinals of the IBA Men's World Boxing Championships, here on Wednesday.
Facing the 2021 bronze medallist Sarkhan Aliyev of Azerbaijan in the 71kg, Nishant was presented with a tough challenge initially but the exuberant pugilist put up a world-class display of strength and supreme technique to secure a 5-0 victory.
The 22-year-old from Karnal utilised his strategy of attacking from a distance and landed a swift combination of punches to begin the bout on the front foot.
After judging his opponent's attacks well and defending sternly, Nishant gave the Azerbaijani no chance to execute his attacks. The southpaw, who hardly put a foot wrong throughout the bout, proved to be too quick for Aliyev.
Nishant will now face Lee Sangmin of South Korea for a place in the quarterfinals. Having reached the quarter-finals of the competition in the last edition as well, the Indian will be aiming to go all the way this time round.
On Thursday, four Indian pugilists will take the ring for their respective tournament openers. The 2022 Thailand Open champion Govind Sahani (48kg) will square off against Mehron Shafiev of Tajikistan while the 2019 Asian silver medallist Deepak Kumar (51kg) will take on Luis Delgado of Ecuador.
Record six-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), who received a bye in the first round, will begin his campaign from the Round of 16 stage as he aims to add another World Championships medal to his kitty, bagging a bronze in the 2015 edition in Doha.
The bronze medallists of the 2022 Asian Championships, Narender Berwal (+92kg) and Muhammad Abroridinov of Tajikistan, who also received byes in the first round, will go head-to-head against each other.