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Nishant Dev losses in quarterfinal; Indian boxers draw a blank at Olympic qualifiers

Busto Arsizio (Italy), Mar 12 (PTI) Nishant Dev missed out on a Paris Olympic quota by a whisker, suffering a heartbreaking loss in the 71kg quarterfinals as all Indian boxers returned empty-handed from the first World Olympic Boxing Qualifier here.

Busto Arsizio (Italy), Mar 12 (PTI) Nishant Dev missed out on a Paris Olympic quota by a whisker, suffering a heartbreaking loss in the 71kg quarterfinals as all Indian boxers returned empty-handed from the first World Olympic Boxing Qualifier here.

Dev went down 1-4 to USA's Omari Jones, the 2021 World Championship silver medallist, in a closely-contested light middleweight quarterfinal late on Monday.

A win in the last eight stage would have fetched the 2023 World Championships bronze medallist an Olympic quota.

None of the nine boxers competing here were able to add to India's tally of four quotas in boxing.

After two qualification events -- the Asian Games and the first World Olympic Boxing Qualifier -- not one Indian male pugilist has been able to book a place for the Olympics.

All four quotas in boxing have come in the women's section with two-time world champion Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Preeti Pawar (54kg), Parveen Hooda (57kg), and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (75kg) securing their passage to Paris.

Indian boxers will get a final chance to book their ticket to Paris during the second World Olympic Boxing Qualifier, scheduled to be held in Bangkok from May 23 to June 3. Between 45 and 51 boxers will qualify from the Bangkok meet.

India had nine boxers competing in the Tokyo Olympics with Borgohain winning the only medal -- a bronze.

On Monday night, Dev was slow off the blocks, as Jones relied on his speed to land several blows in the opening minutes to take command at the start.

However, Dev was able to make a late impression, starting with a combination of a left hook and jab.

Trailing on all five cards after the opening three minutes, the 23-year-old was aggressive from the beginning of the second round.

Both boxers threw punches but Jones' speed gave him a slight edge. With Dev coming at him heavily, the US pugilist relied on his counterattack.

The round was a messy one with lots of clinching, and warnings were handed to both boxers. As the bout progressed, Dev grew in confidence. He ended the second round with a strong left cross to take the round 4-1.

The Haryana boxer made a positive start to the third round as he connected a powerful right hook. He looked more comfortable as Jones, who sustained a cut under his left eye, lacked urgency.

However, Jones soon changed gears and the two boxers traded several punches, including body blows as both looked tired.

But the US pugilist was able to land a flurry of punches in the final minute which probably led to three of the five judges ruling the round in his favour, much to the disappointment of Dev, who looked shell-shocked by the verdict. PTI APA AH AH

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