Commonwealth Games gold medallist Akhil Kumar stands just win away from booking a Beijing Olympic berth after easing into the semifinals of the Asian Boxing Qualifiers on Monday.
The bantam weight pugilist out-scored his Kazakh opponent Mukhit Amantayev in the third round of his quarterfinal bout to continue a successful return from an injury layoff.
"Akhil was aggression personified. He boxed extremely well and was quick on his feet," National coach G S Sandhu said.
The Haryana boxer will next take on DPR Korea's Chol Han Soon in the semis on February 1 and a win would not just assure him of a silver medal but also a berth in the Olympics.
However, curtains came down on Doha Asiad bronze winner in middle weight category, Vijender, who was knocked out in the quarterfinals.
The 22-year-old fought hard but could not upstage his Korean rival Jin Cho Deok, going down 9-17.
"He put on a great fight but unfortunately couldn't get the right result. It is disappointing," Sandhu said.
Tomorrow, Olympian Diwakar Prasad will square off against Iranian Houman Karami in the 60kg quarterfinals. In 48kg, Amandeep Singh, who scored a knock-out win in the first round, will take on Mongolian Serdamba Purevroj.