India got off to a flying start with reigning Commonwealth Games champion Gaurav Solanki (57kg) registering a commanding 5-0 victory over Kyrgyzstan’s national boxing champion Akylbek Esenbek Uulu as the Asian/Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers got under way in Amman, Jordan on Tuesday.
In a blistering start, Solanki brought his attacking game to rain down jabs and punches from the very beginning. The second round turned out to be more competitive with the Kyrgyz boxer showing more aggression but Solanki's patience helped him sail through that.
The exertion in the second round took a toll on the Kyrgyz pugilist, who looked visibly exhausted towards the end of the bout, where Solanki was declared the winner by points. Solanki will need to be at his flawless best for he next faces the top seed and world champion Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan, who is also the reigning Asian Games and Asian champion. Later in the day, Asian Championships silver medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg) will take on Chinese Taipei’s Kan Chia-Wei.
As many as 13 Indians -- eight men and five women -- are in the hunt for a coveted Tokyo Olympic berth at this continental event, being conducted by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Boxing Task Force.