Olympics-bound Indian boxers Shiva Thapa and Vikas Krishan started their build-up for the mega event on a winning note in the first round of the third International Republic of Kazakhstan President's Cup in Almaty.
After a scintillating performance at the AIBA Asian Olympic qualifying event, Youth Olympics silver medallist Shiva (56kg) and World championship bronze medallist Vikas (69kg) registered contrasting wins on the opening day of the event.
While Shiva had to dig deep against Prudkiy Oleg of Ukraine winning 12-10, Vikas powered through with ease against local lad Ashkeev Madiyar (11-5). Shiva, who secured his London Olympics berth en route to winning gold at the Asian Olympic qualifiers in Astana last month, faced some tough opposition from the Ukrainian boxer.
He was down a point after the opening three minutes of play (3-4) but came back strongly in the second round.
With some swift counterattacks and combinations, the 18-year-old turned the tables and soon gained the advantage (8-7). In the final round every time Prudkiy struck, Shiva immediately reciprocated with his fast jabs. He finally won the contest 12-10.
Shiva, the youngest Indian boxer to secure an Olympic berth, will have to be on the top of his game in the next round as he takes on Cuban boxer Alvanes Estrado.
In the welterweight division, Vikas faced little resistance from Ashkeev Madiyar of the Almaty team.
The 2010 Asian Games gold medallist dominated proceedings right from the beginning, never letting his opponent settle into a rhythm. After the first two rounds, Vikas was leading 6-4, when he launched an onslaught to which the Kazakh boxer had no answer.
The 20-year-old Indian went on to win 11-5. He now takes on Kojabekov Bakhitjan of Kazakhstan 2in the next round.
But there was disappointment for India in the light heavyweight and the lightweight categories, with two other Olympics-bound boxers losing out in the preliminaries.
The 2010 Youth Asian championship silver medallist Sumit Sangwan (81kg), up against Abdullev Askar of Kazakh 3 team, lost on countback after being tied 7-7 in the regulation three rounds.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jai Bhagwan (60kg) came up short against Bashnev Samat also of Kazakhstan.
Day two of the tournament will feature the other two Olympics-bound boxers — Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) and L. Devendro Singh (49kg).
While Manoj will take on Ulihanov Ashat of Almaty team, Devendro will lock horns with Egorov Vasily of Russia. The 2010 Asian Games silver medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg) will also be seen in action against Teslenko Alexander of Ukraine in his opening round bout.