Asiad Boxing: Manoj wins, CWG gold-medallist Solanki ousted

Manoj Kumar defeated Bhutan’s Sangay Wangdi to make the last-16 stage of the men's 69 kg category, while Gaurav Solanki (52kg) crashed out after losing to Japan’s Ryomei Tanaka.

India's Manoj Kumar will face Kyrgyzstan’s Abdurakhman Abdurakhmanov in the pre-quarters of the 2018 Asian Games.   -  AFP

Veteran Indian pugilist Manoj Kumar (69kg) eased into the pre-quarters but Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Gaurav Solanki (52kg) went out with a stunning opening-round loss, giving a mixed start to India’s boxing campaign at the Asian Games on Friday.

Manoj prevailed 5-0 over Bhutan’s Sangay Wangdi to make the last-16 stage and set up a clash with Kyrgyzstan’s Abdurakhman Abdurakhmanov, who got an opening-round bye.

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The 31-year-old two-time Commonwealth Games medallist was hardly tested in his bout. The former Asian Championships bronze-medallist was up against an opponent whose lack of experience showed quite early in the bout.

Manoj had little trouble penetrating Wangdi’s defences and kept him on the backfoot almost the entire bout.

However, Solanki was beaten in a unanimous verdict by Japan’s Ryomei Tanaka, the Indian 21-year-old’s defence all over the place against the southpaw. The Indian looked particularly drained after the second round and failed to find a way to prevent his opponent’s hooks from connecting.

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Despite some feeble punches in the third round, Tanaka was helped by Solanki’s poor defence and also his own ability to draw the Indian in.

The Japanese boxer had finished fifth at the Asian Championships last year, incidentally beating India’s world championship bronze-winner Gaurav Bidhuri in the box-off for a world championships spot. In that tournament, he had competed in the bantamweight (56kg) category.