Almaty: Rising Indian boxer Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) endured draining contests but came out triumphant to enter the quarter finals on a bitter-sweet day for India in the World Boxing Championships, here, on Monday.
Both the boxers made a comeback after being down a round to outwit their respective rivals. While Asian champion and fourth seed Shiva got the better off Argentina’s Alberto Melian 2-1, sixth seed Manoj beat Canada’s Yves Ulysse by the same margin.
However, former cadet world champion Thokchom Nanao Singh (49kg) and Asian Games silver-medallist Manpreet Singh bowed out of the event after losing their pre-quarter final bouts to more fancied opponents.
Nanao lost 0-3 to eighth seed Anthony Chacon Rivera of Puerto Rico, while Manpreet went down to top seed Teymur Mammadov by the same margin.
Shiva will face Azerbaijan’s Javid Chalabiyev in the quarter final, while Manoj will be up against Cuba’s Yasnier Lopez, who stunned third-seeded Russian Armen Zakaryan. A win in the quarters, scheduled for Wednesday, will assure both of at least a bronze medal in the mega event.
“It was a very tough bout and took a lot out of me but I somehow pulled through,” Shiva said as he caught his breath after the draining contest. Shiva, a silver-medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympics, faced an opponent whose tactics were not too different from his own.
“I tried to play it cool in the opening round and it could have gone either ways because we were quite similar in our style. It was a 50-50 thing. He clinched the first round and I increased my tempo in the next two,” Shiva said.
National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu, while lauding Shiva, said it was one of the best bouts he has ever witnessed.
“It was a very close bout and an excellent one at that. Both wanted to counter-punch, both of them had good footwork. But Shiva dominated the third round, which he won unanimously,” said the long-serving coach.
However, it was the end of campaign for Nanao, who also endured a draining bout.