Guwahati: The big-name pugilists among Indian men continued put up a flawless display at the Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Stadium to enter the semi-finals of the Indian Open.
Local boy Shiva Thapa (60kg), who was cheered wildly by the sparse crowd – which included his father and many school children – registered a comprehensive 5:0 win over Mauritius’ Hellene Damien. Asian champion Amit Panghal’s (52kg) all-round game was too much to handle for Thailand’s Chakapong Chanpirom. The Indian, like Thapa, won via unanimous decision.
Starting things off with a win for the Indian contingent in the first session was Deepak in the light-fly category. Thailand’s Samak Sehan gained early momentum, using body punches to put his opponent off guard. But Deepak soon found his groove and his short-arm jabs were a sight to behold. The 49kg boxer took a 4:1 win on points.
Former youth world champion Sachin Siwach, national champion PL Prasad and Commonwealth champion Gaurav Solanki hardly broke a sweat. Siwach’s footwork, in-ring coverage and reach has always been his strengths. The 52kg boxer, though, took his time executing punches – he will need to come up with a different approach while facing a smarter boxer like PL Prasad in the latter stages. The 20-year-old won 4:1 against Philippines’s Roger Landon, a former Asian champion.
Prasad, meanwhile, excelled with his nimble footwork and his opponent, Tej Bahadur Deuba, couldn’t cope with the flurry of punches he was subjected to.
Deuba also got a standing count and soon enough, it was curtains for him. Panghal’s switch to a higher weight category is looking seamless so far. With many others taking a leaf out of the Asian Games champion’s book, Panghal was quick to temper expectation.
“It took some time for me to assess his game but I’m happy that it ended in a win,” Panghal told reporters after his bout.
“There is a lot of competition in this category. Many new boxers will come in going forward to qualify for the Olympics.”
The semi-final will see a mouth-watering clash between Prasad and Panghal. Meanwhile, Siwach will face Solanki in the other 52kg semi-final. The duo have never faced each other in competitive boxing but have some history going into the bout. They were each other sparring partners in training and Solanki effectively took Siwach’s place in the CWG last year.
World Championship bronze medallist Gaurav Bidhuri (bantamweight) also cruised to a win via an unanimous decision and was hardly ruffled while facing off against Turkmenistan’s Bayramhan Permanov. Another big name, Manish Kaushik (60kg) was also in fine form, technically outsmarting Thiwa Janthacumpa by unanimous decision to end the morning session.
Duryodhan, Ashish star in second half
India’s first blemish came in the evening session as Pawan Kumar lost 2:3 by split decision to Mauritius’ Clair Marven. The young welterweight (69kg) had pulled off a major upset in the previous round.
Later in the evening, Kavi also lost his 75 kg bout. In the other 69kg bouts, Duryodhan Singh Negi and Dinesh Dagar were in cruise control. They are set for yet another collision course. Negi’s bout had to be abandoned, such was the severity of the Services pugilist’s jabs and hooks. In the third round, the referee called off the contest and raised the 33-year-old’s hand.
Ashish Kumar (75kg) was involved in a tense battle with Argentina’s Francisco Daniel Veron. The Indian just about managed to sneak through with a 4:1 win but there was very little to chose from between the two and was one of the better bouts of day three.
Select results from day three
Deepak (49kg) (IND) def Samak Saehan (THA): 4-1
Carolo Cano Paalam (PHL) (49kg) def Neeraj Swami (IND): 4-1
Amit Panghal (52kg) (IND) def Chakapong Chanpirom (THA):5-0
Sachin (52kg) (IND) def Rogen Siaga Ladon (PHL): 4-1
Gaurav Solanki (52kg) (IND) def Louis Fleurot (MUS): 5-0
Kavinder Singh Bisht (56kg) (IND) def Mario Fernandez (PHL): 3-2
Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) (IND) def Bayramhan Permanov (TKM):5-0
Chatchai Decha Butdee (56kg) (THA) def Md Hussamuddin (IND):3-2
Shiva Thapa (60kg) (IND) def Hellene Damien (MUS):5-0
Ankit (60kg) (IND) def Prakash Limbu Ijam (NP):5-0
Manish Kaushik (60kg) (IND) def Thiwa Janthacumpa (THA): 5-0