World Championships bronze medallist Manish Kaushik (64kg) and Commonwealth Games champion Vikas Krishan (69kg) made it to the semifinals on the first day of boxing event at the 13th South Asian Games on Friday. National Champion Ankit Khatana (75kg) was the third Indian to progress to the last four as he knocked out local boy Deepak Shrestha in the first round of his bout.

Manish thoroughly dominated his quarterfinal bout against Pakistan’s Suleman Baloch to register a commanding 5-0 victory. In the 69 kg quarter-final, Vikas marked his return to the amateur circuit after a gap of 15 months with a superb performance against Bhutan’s Dorji Tshering in a unanimous verdict.

Seven men boxers- Vinod (49kg), Sparsh (52kg), Sachin (57kg), Varinder (60kg), Sachin (81kg), Gaurav Chauhan (91kg) and Narender (+91kg) and four women boxers- Pinki Rani (51kg), Shiksha (54kg), Parveen (60kg) and Manju Bamboriya (64kg) are already in the semi-finals thus ensuring India of 16 medals.

The men’s semifinal bouts will be played on December 7 and 8 followed by finals on December 9.

In the women’s category, last year’s World Championships silver medallist Sonia Chahal (57kg) and Cologne World Cup gold medallist Meenakumari Devi (54kg) confirmed medals as they stormed into the semi-finals of 4th Elite Women’s National Boxing Championships here on Friday.

Young boxer S Kalaivani displayed her attacking prowess right from the word go, landing a series of attacking punches on Pakistan’s Rabia Batool as the referee was forced to stop the contest in the first round itself.

Chahal, who won the 57kg gold in 2016 and the bronze in 2017, had to fight hard against Himachal Pradesh’s Vinakshi on her way to a gritty 3-2 win. All India Police’s Meenakumari Devi got closer to the defence of her 54kg title with a dominant 5-0 victory over Jharkhand’s Sabiha Khanam.

Fresh from winning the coveted gold medal at the 2019 World Police and Fire Games, Arjuna awardee Kavita Chahal (+81kg) brought that sterling form to the Nationals to continue her winning spree.

The two-time Women’s World Boxing Championships bronze medallist moved one step closer to the top podium when she landed a flurry of punches to knock out Rajasthan’s Barbara Sampson 5-0.

Former youth world champion Shashi Chopra (60kg), hailing from Haryana, also put up an impressive performance in her quarter-final bout against Chandigarh’s Manju, winning it 5-0.

India Open runner-up Vanlal Duati (51kg) faced no hassle in advancing to the last-four with a 5-0 win over Madhya Pradesh’s Deepa Kumari while Chandigarh’s Ritu (57kg) shone with a 5-0 demolition of Delhi’s Jyoti. Punjab also had quite a few pugilists winning, with Parminder Kaur (81kg), Minakshi (48kg), Mandeep Kaur Sandhu (57kg) all entering the semi-finals.

The women semifinals will be played on Saturday with the final bouts scheduled on December 8.