Five-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (63.5kg) stood just one win away from becoming the first Indian male boxer to claim two world championship medals after he advanced to the quarterfinals of the ongoing edition in Belgrade.
The 27-year-old from Assam defeated France’s Lounes Hamraoui 4-1 in a late night pre-quarterfinal bout on Monday to move ahead. Thapa had claimed a bronze medal in the 2015 edition of the tournament in Doha.
He was the only Indian boxer to register a win on Monday night as four others, including Asian silver-medallist Deepak Bohria (51kg), bowed out of the competition.
Thapa will square off against Turkey’s Kerem Oezmen in the quarterfinals on Tuesday night.
Monday night’s victory was also revenge for Thapa, who had lost to Hamraoui at the Alexis Vastine Memorial Tournament in Nantes, France last year.
Apart from Thapa, four others Indian will also be fighting their quarterfinal bouts this evening.
Akash Kumar (54kg) will face Venezuela’s Yoel Finol. Narender Berwal (+92kg) will go up against Azerbaijan’s Mahammad Abdullayev, while Nishant Dev (71kg) will take on Russia’s Vadim Musaev. Reigning Asian champion Sanjeet (92kg), who was a quarterfinalist in the event’s last edition, will face Italian Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine.
Eralier, Nishant Dev (71kg) and Sanjeet (92kg) made the quarterfinals following impressive victories but four others.
Nishant defeated Mexico’s Marco Alvarez Verde 3-2 in a late night bout on Sunday to set up a clash with Russia’s Vadim Musaev. Sanjeet, a quarterfinalist from the previous edition and the reigning Asian champion, got the better of Georgia’s Giorgi Tchigladze 4-1 to enter the last eight stage for a second successive time.
However, Rohit Mor (57kg) went down to Kazakhstan’s Serik Temirzhanov 1-4. Akash Sangwan (67kg) too lost 0-5 to Cuba’s former world youth champion Kevin Brown Bazain in a fight that left both the boxers with bloodied faces.
Also exiting the tournament was Sumit Kundu (75kg), who fought valiantly against another Cuban in Yoenlis Hernandez but lost 0-5.
Deepak was beaten by Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov, the reigning Olympic and world championship bronze-medallist. The Indian claimed the second round and was in with a chance to upstage Bibossinov but teh Kazakh raised his game just in time to nose ahead.
Mor gave a good account of himself by fighting hard and taking his chances against the technically sound Kazakh, who was especially terrific in the opening round with his attacks.
Mor troubled him with his own brand of aggressive tactics, which included some good footwork but he struggled to connect.
Sangwan was equally gritty but lacked in footwork and was perhaps a bit too worked up during the contest.
Brown, despite being caught off guard more than once by Sangwan’s persistent attacks, was the superior of the two boxers in terms of making counter-attacks. The Cuban also displayed a strikingly good defence and was a clear winner.
Both the boxers ended up sustaining cuts close to their right eyes in the final round.
Later, Sumit started well by pocketing the opening round in a split decision but Hernandez made a superb comeback with his eye-catching uppercuts and body shots that the Indian found difficult to cope with.
With PTI Inputs
Respond to this article with a post
Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.