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Indian boxers make confident start at World Olympic Qualifiers

Baku (Azerbaijan): Dheeraj Rangi (60kg) gave India's boxing team a perfect start in the AIBA World Olympic Qualification Tournament as he defeated Guatemala's Kevin Alfonso Luna Munoz in the opening round of the event which started here yesterday.

Dheeraj triumphed 3-0 over the his opponent and set up a tough second-round clash against top-seeded Mexican Lindolfo Delgao Garza, who got a bye in the opening round.

In the draw unveiled today, Asian Games gold-medallist Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Commonwealth Games silver-winner L Devendro Singh (49kg) were the only Indians to be seeded.

While Devendro was given the fourth seeding, Vikas was seeded second and both of them got first-round byes in their respective categories. They will open their campaigns on June 20 against yet-to-be decided rivals.

Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Mandeep Jangra will take on Spaniard Youba Sissokho Ndiaye in his opening bout in the wee hours tonight.

In the 52kg category, Gaurav Bidhuri will fight it out against American Antonio Vargas in his opening contest tomorrow. Also in action tomorrow will be former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg), who will take on Puerto Rico's Danielito Zorrila de la Rosa.

In the light heavyweight (81kg) division, Sumit Sangwan will be up against Trinidad's Andrew Fermin.

In the 91kg division, Amritpreet Singh will face Armend Xhoxhaj of Kos (Greek Islands), while Satish Kumar (+91kg) will square off against Tonga's Manase Kaho Raikadroka.

The tournament has 39 qualifying spots up for grabs -- two in the 49kg category, five each in 52kg, 56kg, 60kg, 64kg, 69kg, 75kg and 81kg, and just one each in 91kg and +91kg. Over 400 boxers from more than 100 countries are vying for these slots in the final qualifying tournament for amateur boxers.

India have not sent any entry in the 56kg category as Shiva Thapa qualified for the Rio Games during the Asian qualifiers in March.

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