Accomplished comeback-man Vikas Krishan (69kg) claimed a slot in the Indian men’s boxing squad for next year’s Olympic qualifiers after winning his final trial bout along with two others at Bengaluru on Monday.
The former world championships and Asian Games medal-winner, who competed in the middleweight 75kg category for a long time, is back to the 69kg division after recovering from a back injury sustained during his short undefeated stint in the professional circuit.
The 26-year-old, already a two-time Olympian, out-punched national medallist Duryodhan Singh Negi in a unanimous decision in the trial finals.
Also making the squad for the Asia/Oceania zone qualifiers, scheduled from February 3 to 14 in Wuhan, China, were Commonwealth Games medal-winning duo of Gaurav Solanki (57kg) and Naman Tanwar (91kg).
While Solanki defeated Mohammed Hussamuddin, Tanwar edged past Naveen Kumar. Both the bouts were split verdicts.
“It was good to see how strongly Gaurav Solanki came back against Hussamuddin in the tough bout,” said Indian men’s boxing’s High Performance Director Santiago Nieva.
“As for Vikas, he is very focussed and we have high hopes from him,” he added.
On Sunday, Asian silver-medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg), veteran Satish kumar (+91kg) and Sachin Kumar (81kg) booked their places in the squad.
Ashish defeated reigning national champion and South Asian Games gold-medallist Ankit Khatana in a unanimous verdict.
Satish, a Commonwealth and Asian Games medallist, booked his berth with a split verdict triumph over Narender. Sachin claimed the 81kg spot with a victory over Brijesh Yadav.
Amit Panghal (52kg) and Manish Kaushik (63kg) have already claimed their place in the team after winning medals at the world championships in September.
While Panghal claimed a path-breaking silver, Kaushik brought home a bronze, fulfilling the criteria for selection set by the Boxing Federation of India.
“There was very strong competition with close bouts in each of the categories. The final squad looks really strong,” said Nieva.
“We have a good one month before the Olympic qualifiers. We are going to train hard and work on the necessary adjustments required,” he added.
Indian squad for Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifiers: Amit Panghal (52kg), Gaurav Solanki (57kg), Manish Kaushik (63 kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Sachin Kumar (81kg), Naman Tanwar (91kg), Satish Kumar (+91kg).