After rookie boxer L Devendro Singh (49kg) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) cemented their place in the 2012 London Olympics it was time for Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Jai Bhagwan (60kg) and Asian games gold medallist Vikas Krishnan (69kg) to add to the tally. Jai and Vikas advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2011 AIBA World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan notching up contrasting victories in the round of 16.
19 year old Vikas who was the last Indian to take the ring capped off a brilliant performance by the Indian team, with four of the five in the round of 16 powering through to the quarters and secure and Olympic berth.
Krishnan, making his welterweight debt at the world championship continued his winning spree beating Onder Sipal of Turkey in what was enthralling display of superlative boxing. The 2010 Youth world champion dominated the game with speed, agility and exceptional footwork. The Turkish boxer failed to settle into a rhythm and challenge the Indian. Vikas led 5:3 in the first round, 5:2 in the second and emerged triumphant with a total score of 14:7.
Up against the European Championship quarter-finalist and seventh seed David Joyce of Ireland, Jai started strongly taking full advantage of his height and long reach. The 26 year old took quick 13:8 lead in the first round, dominating the pace of the bout. In the second Joyce came back strongly with some hard hitting combinations; he scored ten points as opposed to Jai’s 7. With just two points separating Jai from the Irish boxer drama unfolded in the final round when both the boxers were given two warnings each. But to the advantage of the Indian boxer Joyce received his second warning with just 4 seconds left on the clock. The 2009 Asian Championship silver medallist went on to secure his place in the quarter-finals of the championship and a berth at the London Games next year with a 32: 30 victory.
In the quarter-finals of the championships 19 year old Devendro is expected to face his biggest challenge yet, when he takes on world number 2 and 2011 Asian Championships gold medal winner Shin Jong of Korea in the light fly weight class.
Manoj will battle against world number 12 Thomas Stalker of England in the round of eight of the light welter weight division. The 24 year old Indian boxer will have to be on the top of his game to get past Stalker who bagged the gold medal at the 2011 European Championship and 2010 commonwealth games.
Jai Bhagwan will lock horns with Gani Zhailauov of Kazakhstan while Vikas Krishnan will fight Vasili Belous of Maldova for a place in the semis.