New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Young Indian boxer Sunil Kumar continued his impressive run at the China Open tournament in Guiyang and Thursday assured himself of a bronze by reaching the semi-finals of the 52kg category.
Besides Sunil, who also had a bronze at the Konstantin Korotkov Memorial, rookies Ajay Kumar (56kg), Jaideep (75kg) and Manjeet Singh (+91kg) also made it to the penultimate round and have assured themselves of a medal.
In the quarter-finals at Guiyang -- under the new 'Ten-Point must-scoring system' -- Sunil, a silver medallist at the inaugural China Open, was up against Artem Mirazaev of Russia.
With his quick-fire jabs and swift body blows he put the Russian boxer on the back foot, right from the very start. Mirazev did well to squeeze in a few punches, but in the end it was Sunil who emerged triumphant on a split decision to march into the semi-finals of the tournament. He now takes on local lad Chang Young for a place in the finals.
Ajay, 19, playing his first international competition, also assured himself of at least a bronze medal. He beat Filipino boxer Nico Magliquian in a split decision to advance into the semis, where he now takes on You Lunhai from China. Middle weight boxer Jaideep also secured a semi-final spot by overhauling Kazakh boxer Chingiz Verdybekov.
But the Indian contingent suffered early setbacks in the women's division of the tournament. Pinki Jangra (51kg), Preeti Beniwal (60kg) and Neetu Chahal (75kg) all failed to make it past the quarter-finals after losing out to their respective opponents.