Bangkok: Defending champion Shiva Thapa (56kg) was among the six Indians who were handed first-round byes while Asian Games bronze-medallist Vikas Krishan (75kg) was the only one to be seeded at second as the country made a winning start at the Asian Championships here today.
Manish Kaushik (60kg) was the lone Indian in action today as he gloved up against Bangladesh's M Hossen in the opening round. Kaushik thrashed his rival 3-0 in a one-sided fight to open the event on a winning note for India.
He will take on China's Chin Long on August 29. The rest of the contingent had an off day as they went through the draws, which were rolled out this morning. The tournament is a qualifying event for the World Championships scheduled in Doha in October.
Among those who got byes and won't be taking the ring before August 30 were Shiva, Vikas, previous edition's silver-medallist L Devendro Singh (49kg), Madan Lal (52kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Kuldeep Singh (81kg).
Another silver-medallist from the last time, Mandeep Jangra (69kg) will open his campaign on August 28 against Vietnam's Vien Ngoc Huynh. If he wins, the Commonwealth Games silver winner will be up against Japan's Ysauhiro Suzuki in pre-quarters on August 30.
The next day, August 29 will have former Asian Games silver-medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg) starting his campaign against Sri Lanka's Nuvan Sugeewa Sampath in the first round.
Should he win, Manpreet has a tough bout at hand as he would be squaring off against second seed Rustam Tulagnov of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals.
On the same day, Satish Kumar (+91kg) will fight it out against Hyok Ri Jin of Korea. The rest of the team will begin its campaign in the prequarterfinal stage.
Shiva will face the winner of bout between Jordinian Mohammad Alwadi and Kazakhstan's Asror Vohidov on August 30. The same day, Devendro will take on China's He Junjun in his last-16 stage bout.
Vikas will be up against the winner of the bout between Japan's Ryota Hamazaki and Turkmenistan's Arslanbek Achilov in his prequarters.
On August 31, two-time bronze-winner Manoj has a relatively easy contest awaiting him in Nepal's Deepak Shreshtha.
Madan Lal will face Iraq's Murtadha Raad Qasim Al-Sudani, while Kuldeep will fight for a quarterfinal slot with China's Aolin Zhang. The Indians, despite being short on international exposure owing to the administrative mess back home, have had a stellar record in the continental showpiece, having finished second the last time around in 2013 with one gold, two silver and a bronze medal.
However, it isn't merely about medals this time. Depending on the size of the draw in each category, only the medallists or the winners of probable box-offs would make the cut for the October World Championships in Doha -- the first qualifying event for next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The Asian continent has got 66 quota places to the Doha event which is the second highest after the European continent.
From 49kg up to the 81kg categories, Asia has got seven quotas including the host nation of the AIBA World Boxing Championships Qatar's places. Five boxers will be getting the quotas in the highest two categories at the 91 kg and +91 kg here.
A total of 188 from 28 nations are in the tournament, which has broken all of previous records of participation. This figure means that the current edition is the biggest ever in the history of the competition.
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