Haryana youngster Pawan Narwal outsmarted Youth Olympics gold medallist Brian Arregui Agustin in the 69kg category as all the five boxers in the men’s section advanced to the quarterfinals of the second India Open here Tuesday.
The Argentine dominated the first round but the the 21-year-old Indian slowly made a come back with his clever footwork to win 4-1 in a split decision.
“It was a close fight. He was dangerous with his left hook and landed powerful punches. Pawan outworked him with his clever footwork which was the key,” India’s chief performance director Santiago Nieva told PTI.
“He (Narwal) really applied the pressure and the Argentine could not sustain in the end. He scored very well from the outside. It was a fair decision,” Nieva said of the bout, adding that the Haryana lad needs some more international exposure.
Narwal will next face Clair Marven of Mauritius for a place in the semifinals.
Having lost out four years of competitions at junior level due to suspension of boxing federation, Narwal from Rindhana in Sonepat joined the camp only last year and caught everyone by surprise.
In 2018, Narwal had settled for a bronze at the Asian Games Invitational Test Tournament in Jakarta in February. He then went on to change the colour of the medal to silver at the Belgrade International Boxing tournament in August.
“We could not compete at the Junior Nationals for four years due to the suspension and made a direct entry to seniors last year,” Narwal said.
Talking about the camp in Patiala, he said: “I’ve got some good partners in the camp and Santiago Sir is working really hard for me. There has been a huge improvement in me.”
In the bottom half of the draw in the 69kg, experienced Dinesh Dagar, who won a silver medal at the last edition of this tournament, was far from convincing but overcame Filipino Marjon Angcon Pianar 3-2 in a split decision.
“He can be better than he did today,” Nieva said of Dagar who had defeated 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Evaldas Petrauskas of Lithuania en route to winning a silver at the GeeBee Tournament in Finland in March.
Youth World Championship bronze medalist Ankit Khatana (60kg) began the day for the Indian’s in the men’s section with a win over Ryan Boy Empoc Moreno of Philippines.
Ankit will take on Prakash Limbu Ijam of Nepal in the quarterfinals.
Ashish (64kg) and Manjit Panghal (75kg) also made the quarterfinals in their respective sections.