Boxer Goyat moves closer to Olympic berth

Vargas: Neeraj Goyat of moved closer to qualifying for the Rio Olympics after entering the semi-finals of the welterweight (69kg) category at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament for professional boxers here on Tuesday. The WBC Asian champion outpunched Dimitrios Poulikos Tsagkrakos of Greece 3-0 in the quarter-finals. He will face second seed Arajik Marutjan of Germany for a place in the final on Thursday. Even if Neeraj goes down in the last four stage, he will have another chance of qualifying for the Olympic if he wins the play-off between the losing semi-finalists. However, it was a disappointing for the other Indian boxers in the fray as Gaurav Bidhuri (52kg) and Dilbag Singh (81kg) crashed out in their respective categories. Dilbag gave a tough fight to Petru Ciobanu of Moldova before losing 1-2 while Gaurav lost to Maksym Fatych of Ukraine in the opening round. This is the first time professional boxers are competing to qualify for the Olympics. The competition has 26 Olympic spots at stake -- three in every weight category except heavyweight (91kg) and super heavyweight (91+kg), from which only the winners will earn a ticket to Rio.