Young Indian boxer Nishant Dev recorded a superb victory to advance to the pre-quarterfinals of the IBA Men’s World Boxing Championships 2023 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Wednesday.

Facing the 2021 World Championships bronze medallist Sarkhan Aliyev of Azerbaijan in 71kg, Nishant was presented with a tough challenge initially but the pugilist put up a world-class display of strength and technique to secure a 5-0 victory. The 22-year-old boxer from Karnal utilised his strategy of attacking from distance and landing a swift combination of punches to start the bout on the front foot.

By judging his opponent’s attacks well and defending sternly, Nishant gave the Azerbaijani no chance to execute his attacks. The southpaw, who hardly put a foot wrong throughout the bout, proved to be too quick for Aliyev.

Nishant will now face Lee Sangmin of South Korea in the next round. Having reached the quarter-finals of the competition in the last edition as well, the Indian will be looking to do better.

On Thursday, four Indian pugilists will take to the ring for their respective tournament openers. The 2022 Thailand Open champion Govind Sahani (48kg) will square off against Mehron Shafiev of Tajikistan while the 2019 Asian silver medallist Deepak Kumar (51kg) will face Luis Delgado of Ecuador.

Record six-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), who received a bye in the first round, will begin his campaign from the Round of 16 stage as he aims to add another World Championships medal to his kitty after bronze in the 2015 edition in Doha.

The bronze medallists of the 2022 Asian Championships, Narender Berwal (+92kg) and Muhammad Abroridinov of Tajikistan, who also got byes in the first round, will go head to head against each other.

The on-going tournament is witnessing the participation of 538 boxers, including several Olympic medallists, from 107 countries.