Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Aug.13 : National boxing coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu has praised Manoj Kumar after he defeated London Olympic bronze-medallist Evaldas Petrauskas to reach the pre-quarterfinals of the Men's Light Welter 64kg event here at the Rio Olympics.
Sandhu believes that Manoj has gained a lot of confidence from his first round win and would hopefully keep up his performance.
"We were not expecting him to win. He gave a superb account of himself. He defeated Olympic bronze medallist. And it was really very tough bout. It was very close bout. Kudos to Manoj for performing so well and winning that bout. Next bout is again very tough for him. It is against Uzbeikistan. He is very motivated. He is very determined. He wants to give his best. And hopefully he will be able to do his best," Sandhu told ANI of Manoj, who registered 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 win over Petrauskas.
Meanwhile, Sandhu also expressed his views on another boxer Shiva Thapa, who has been crashed out of the tournament after going down 25-30, 27-30 and 27-30 against Cuba's Ramirez Robeisy in the Men's Bantam 56kg event.
Sandhu insisted that although Shiva had put his best foot forward, it was the Cubian boxer who turned out to be a better performer.
"Shiva Thappa was beaten against Olympic gold medallist. He is an outstanding boxer from Cuba. Shiva tried his best, but lost to a better boxer. Shiva has a lot of future in him and he can definitely perform better in the upcoming tournament. He did what he could, but the Cubian boxer was experienced and better performer and, therefore, won the match," he added.
Vikas Krishnan, the other boxer in fray, has reached the quarter-finals of the prestigious event and will now return in action on August 15 when he takes on 20-year-old Melikuziev Bektemir of Uzbekistan while Manoj will lock horns with Uzbekistan's Fazliddin Gaibnazarov in the pre-quarters a day before.