Seasoned Indian boxer Shiva Thapa (64kg) secured his fifth successive medal at the Asian Boxing Championships by advancing to the semifinals after out-punching Kuwait’s Nader Odah in the last-eight stage in Dubai on Tuesday. Thapa prevailed 5-0 in a lop-sided clash to set up a showdown with defending champion and top seed Bakhodur Usmonov of Tajikistan. Usmonov outclassed John Paul Panuayan.
Thapa won a gold in the 2013 championships, bronze in 2015 and 2019 and silver in 2017. He is assured of at least a bronze in the ongoing edition, bettering his own position as the most successful Indian boxer in the tournament’s history.
Thapa was in control from the word go and was hardly tested by his opponent, who also faced a standing eight count in the opening round. The Assamese boxer was particularly impressive with his left jabs.
However, Commonwealth Games bronze-winner Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg) went down to Uzbekistan’s reigning world champion Mirazizbek Mirzahalilov in a fiercely-fought quarterfinal.
The Indian boxer lost 1-4 after giving the top-seeded defending champion quite a fight. Mirzahalilov, who is also the Asian Games champion, was caught off guard by Hussamuddin’s powerful counter-attacks on more than one occasion.
However, the Uzbek’s assured footwork and precisely-placed straights for a majority of the bout, helped him seal it in the end.
In another disappointment for India, Iran’s Meysam Gheslaghi defeated Sumit Sangwan in the men’s light heavyweight (81kg) division in a late Monday night bout.
On Wednesday, India’s Olympic-bound men pugilists Amit Panghal (52kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Ashish Kumar (75kg) will kick-start their campaign.
World Championships silver-medallist and defending champion Panghal will face Mogolia’s Kharkhuu Enkhmandakh.
The two last faced each other at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan last year where the Indian had triumphed in a gruelling contest.
Asian Games champion Vikas Krishan will square off against Iran’s Moslem Malamir, while last edition’s silver-winner Ashish will face World Championships and Asian Games silver-medallist Abilkhan Amankul of Kazakhstan.
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