Vikas Krishan Yadav gave India’s boxing campaign a rousing start with a dominant victory at the ongoing Rio Olympics over Charles Conwell of the US in the men’ Middleweight (75kg) category at the Riocentrio Pavilion here.
The Indian outpunched the 18-year-old American by a unanimous decision in the Round of 32 bout with all three judges ruling 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 in favour of the Haryana boxer here on Tuesday.
Vikas will now face Onder Sipal of Turkey in the pre-quarterfinals.
Sipal faced a tough challenge from the impressive Benny Muzio of Zambia before winning an entertaining and highly technical bout by a split decision.
The 24-year-old Vikas defeated the Olympic debutant 3-0 in his opening contest, which came alive only in the final three minutes, to make the last-16.
The 18-year-old Conwell, who walked in to hostile boos from the local crowd, struggled to launch an attack on the Indian in the opening round. Vikas, on the other hand, used his right straights and uppercuts to good effect in the first three minutes.
Vikas dropped his guard quite early in the bout but Conwell’s attempts at capitalising on it did not quite work out as he landed into a well-laid trap by the counter-attacking Indian.
Vikas seemed more assured in the second round and concentrated on breaking down Conwell’s defence by targetting his torso.
Although the judges were divided in awarding the round to the former World Championships bronze-medallist, Vikas had done enough to secure himself the handy lead going into the final round.
After being seemingly clueless and fetching two cautions for bending excessively in the first two rounds, Conwell gathered himself in the final three minutes to land a couple of crisp jabs but the effort came too late in the day.
The final round ended up being tied between the two boxers but Vikas emerged triumphant on the back of his strong showing in the first two rounds.
On Wednesday, former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar will open his campaign against Lithuania’s Evaldas Petrauskas.