| Shiva Thapa during a felicitation, on Saturday. A Telegraph picture |
Calcutta: Shiva Thapa wears his heart on his sleeve. The 20-year-old Shiva is as candid with his answers as he is with his raw aggression in the boxing ring.
Despite having a devil-may-care attitude on the ring, the bantamweight (56 kg) boxer from Assam says he is a meticulous planner.
Even the mushroom haircut, which he got a couple of months back, is planned. Since the boxers will fight their bouts without a head guard in the upcoming World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, having one’s hair short means that sweat will not drip on to one’s forehead and hamper the vision.
“I will crop my hair more before I go to Almaty on October 10. Preparations don’t mean that you only have to focus on your training, you need to get these things right also.
“If a boxer is not mentally strong and tactically sharp, he cannot win matches. Along with a good physique, a sharp mind is very essential to be a successful boxer. I win the matches because of right planning,” said Shiva, who was felicitated by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, at a city hotel on Saturday.
The event was attended by Alka Bangur, president of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, R.K. Chhajer, senior vice-president of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, Praful Patel, Union minister of heavy industries and public enterprises, V. N. Dhoot, chairman and managing director, Videocon Industries Ltd, and M.K. Saharia, chairman, Education and Award Committee.
“Today is my dad’s birthday. I feel really honoured that I am being felicitated today,” Shiva said after being feted.
Shiva, who became the youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the London Olympics, says he relishes performing under pressure.
“Pressure don’t affect me. In fact, it brings out the best in me. Even during the Olympics, I tried to stay relaxed. When I get stressed, I listen to rock music and meditate,” said Shiva, who won gold at the Asian Confederation Boxing Championship at Amman in Jordan, in July, earlier this year.
Shiva is now gearing up to compete in his first World Championships. The tournament will be played under new International Amateur Boxing Federation (AIBA) rules.
Apart from barring a boxer from wearing head guards, the tournament will be played under professional scoring system. Shiva said he’s ready for the challenge. “I don’t think I will face a problem if I fight without the head guard. Actually, it will aid the boxers because your peripheral vision gets better if you fight without the guard.
“I also laud the AIBA’s move to conduct the tournaments under professional scoring system because the same system is being followed in professional boxing… I want to become a professional in the future. So it will help me,” said Shiva.
Asked which boxers will pose major threats, Shiva said: “Boxers, particularly from Uzbekistan and Cuba, will be tough to beat. But I am ready to give my best. I have trained hard and am in good shape. I am confident of winning a medal.”
Asked whether he has brought some changes to his style after winning the gold in the Asian Confederation Boxing Championship, he said: “I have brought some technical changes to my game. Since the tournament will be played under professional scoring system, you need to dominate proceedings and be aggressive.
“I have tried to develop my game on those lines. I was more of a counter-puncher earlier… But I have become more aggressive now.” On his aim, he said: “I only believe in long-term planning. I am currently the world No. 4. My plan is to go to Rio Olympics as the world No. 1 and win the gold. To realise this dream, I am ready to go to any extent.”