World Boxing Championships: Akash, Narender in quarters following impressive wins

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 Indian boxers Akash Kumar (54kg) and Narender Berwal (+92kg) advanced to the quarterfinals of the AIBA Men’s World Championships on Sunday, notching up contrasting but exhilarating victories against their respective opponents.

While Akash staved off a stiff challenge from Puerto Rico’s Caleb Tirado to clinch it 5-0, Narender pummelled a heavily distracted and mostly sluggish Jakhon Qurbonov of Tajikistan, stopping him in the second round itself.
Akash, who received a walkover in the last round, was up against a sprightly Tirado and he did trouble the Indian with his close-range game.

However, Akash stuck to hitting straight and clean, a tactic which found favour with the judges. The Puerto Rican also endured a point’s deduction in the second round after he picked up a warning for failing to keep his head up.
Akash will square off against Rio Olympics silver-medallist Yoel Finol.

Finol had originally won a bronze in Rio but he was elevated after the original silver-winner, Russian Misha Aloian, was disqualified for doping.
Narender was all pumped up in his bout against Qurbonov, pounding him with terrific body shots that left the Tajik desperate for a breather in the opening three minutes itself.

Qurbonov was scurrying for cover for most of the bout and the referee put an end to his misery about a minute into the second round following a standing eight count.

Later in the evening, Nishant Dev (71kg) will be up against Mexico’s Alvarez Verde in the last-16 round.

Also tonight, Asian champion Sanjeet (92kg) will take on Georgia’s Giorgi Tchigladze.

Altogether 10 Indian boxers have made the pre-quarters. Of these, Govind Sahani (48kg) was ousted on Saturday.

The gold winners at the showpiece will walk away with a prize money of $100,000.

The silver medallists are to be given $50,000, and both bronze-medallists will be awarded $25,000 each. The total prize purse stands at a whopping $2.6 million.

India are being represented by its reigning national champions across weight categories.

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