Boxing: Thapa, Krishan continue good form

Shiva ThapaNew Delhi: After a scintillating performance at the AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event in Astana, Kazakhstan, Youth Olympic silver medallist Shiva Thapa (56kg) continued his brilliant form at the 3rd International ‘Republic of Kazakhstan President’s Cup’ with a hard fought victory in the preliminary round on Tuesday.

World Championship bronze medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg) was also in great shape as he continued to ride his purple patch after the bronze medal winning performance at the 43rd Czech Grand Prix. The two Olympic bound boxers registered contrasting wins on the opening day of the event, which is being held in Almaty, Kazakhstan. While Shiva had to dig deep against Prudkiy Oleg of Ukraine, Vikas powered through with ease against local lad Ashkeev Madiyar.

Thapa, who secured his London Olympics berth en route to winning the bantam weight title 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 counter attacks and combinations the 18 year old turned the table and soon gained the advantage (8:7). In the final round every time Prudkiy stuck, Shiva immediately reciprocated with his lightening fast jabs. He finally won the contest on points 12:10. Thapa, who became 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 welter weight division, Vikas faced little resistance from Ashkeev Madiyar of the Almaty team. The 2010 Asian Games gold medallist dominated proceeding 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 offensive onslaught to which the Kazakh boxer had no answer. The 20 year old Indian went on to win the bout on points 11:5. He now takes on Kojabekov Bakhitjan of the Kazakhstan 2 team in the next round.

But there was disappointment for India in the light heavy weight and the light weight categories, with two other Olympic bound boxers losing out in the preliminaries.

2010 Youth Asian Championship silver medallist Sumit Sangwan (81kg), up against Abdullev Askar of Kazakh 3 team, gave a good account of his skills in all the three rounds. But after nine minutes of some intense action, which saw the scored knotted at 7 all, the 19 year old Indian ended up on the losing side on individual judge’s score. Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jai Bhagwan (60kg) came up short against Bashnev Samat also of Kazakhstan.

Day two of the tournament will also witness the other two London Olympics bound boxers Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) and L Devendro Singh (49kg) take to the rings. While Manoj will take on Ulihanov Ashat of Almaty team, Devendro will lock horns with Egorov Vasily of Russia. 2010 Asian Games silver medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg) will also be seen in action as he goes up against Teslenko Alexander of Ukraine in his opening round bout.