Indian boxers Neeraj and Sonia Lather posted comfortable victories to breeze into the quarter-finals of the Asian Boxing Championships played in Vietnam on Friday (November 3).
Reigning national champion Neeraj outsmarted Myanmar's Nally Nally 5-0 in the 51kg category, while 2016 world championship runner-up Sonia steamrolled Japan's Kana Kurogi by an unanimous decision in the 57kg competition to continue India's good run in the tournament.
Sonia, a former Asian Games silver medalist made a slow start and spent most of the opening round playing safe. However, she picked up the momentum in the second round and her punches were too much to handle for the Japanese. Kana could never really get back into the bout with the referees eventually ruling the match in the Indian's favour.
Asian Championship debutant Neeraj was also in imperious form and dominated her opponent from the word go. She was in her element throughout the bout and eased her way into the last eight.
"I am happy to get off to a winning start in the tournament. It is the first time I was playing in the Asian Championships and obviously wanted to do well. The win actually has given a lot more confidence and I just hope that I can keep it up in the next round," Neeraj said after the bout.
Neeraj will take on Chol Mi Pang of People's Republic of Korea in the next round, while Sonia Lather will face Nazym Ichshanova of Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals.
However, it was curtains for Pooja Rani as lost her quarterfinal bout against Xiaoli Yang of China in the 81 kg category.