Manish Kaushik defeated the Commonwealth Games champion and second seed Garside 4-1 to book his maiden ticket. (Photo Credit: Olympic Channel Screengrab)
World bronze-medallist Manish Kaushik (63kg) on Wednesday became the ninth Indian boxer to qualify for Tokyo Olympics after beating Australia's Harrison Garside in a brutal box-off at the Asian Boxing Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan. Kaushik defeated the Commonwealth Games champion and second seed Garside 4-1 to book his maiden ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after a draining showdown which saw the Australian fighting with a bloodied face and the Indian braving some painful hits to his ribs. It was a repeat of the 2018 CWG final, only this time Kaushik ended up on the winning side. The top six in the 63kg category were entitled to Olympic berths in the ongoing event. Both Kaushik and Garside had lost in the quarterfinals.
Earlier, Olympic-bound Commonwealth Games champion Vikas Krishan (69kg) signed off with a silver medal after an eye injury forced him to pull out of the final. Krishan, a world and Asian medallist, was to take on Jordan's Zeyad Eashash in the summit clash. "He will not compete because of the cut. He has been told by the doctors to pull out," a source close to the boxer told PTI.
He defeated second seed Ablaikhan Zhussupov of Kazakhstan, a two-time world bronze-medallist, in the semifinals on Tuesday. He sustained a cut on his left eyelid in the second round of the bout before claiming a split decision victory. The other Indians to have qualified for the Olympics are M C Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Amit Panghal (52kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg). Kaur (60kg) on the other hand upstaged third seed and Asian silver-medallist Shih-Yi Wu of Taiwan in a terrific come-from-behind win.
The Indian trailed in the opening round but roared back in the second with her precisely-placed combination punches before fending off a strong attack from Wu in the final three minutes. She will take on Korea's Oh Yeonji in the final on Wednesday. In another good result, first-timer Sachin Kumar (81kg) remained in the hunt for an Olympic berth by defeating Manh Cuong Nguyen of Vietnam 4-1 in the first box-off.
He will have to get the better of Shabbos Negmatulloev of Tajikistan in the last box-off on Wednesday to book a ticket to Tokyo as only the top five qualify in his weight category. In a major disappointment for India, six-time world champion Mary Kom lost to China's Chang Yuan, a former Youth Olympics champion, in a split verdict. Also bowing out with a bronze was world silver-medallist and top seed Panghal, who went down to Jianguan Hu of China in a split 3-2 decision. It was revenge for Hu, an Olympic and world bronze-medallist who lost to Panghal in the Asian semifinals last year. Panghal had endured exhausting contests in the run-up to the semis and he could not outpace the determined Chinese in Tuesday's clash.
The Indian was fidgety and made it hard for his rival to get a clear shot but the determined Filipino managed to get through nonetheless for a split verdict in his favour. Eight Indian boxers have qualified for the Tokyo Games at the ongoing event so far, making India the most successful team here along with traditional powerhouse Kazakhstan.