Shiva Thapa (64kg) and Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg) gave India the perfect start at the Asian Boxing Championships, storming into the quarter-finals with impressive victories in Dubai on Monday.
Commonwealth Games bronze-winner Hussamuddin (56kg) defeated Kazakhstan’s Makhmud Sabyrkhan in his opening bout.
Sumit Sangwan (81 kg) however met with defeat against Iran’s Meysam Gheshlaghi 5-0 in the third bout featuring Indians late on Monday.
Later, Thapa, who is chasing a fifth successive medal at the event, got the better of Kyrgyzstan’s Dmitri Puchinn. Both the boxers won 5-0.
Hussamuddin has a real tough one next up as he will be taking on reigning world and Asian Games champion Mirazizbek Mirzahalilov of Uzbekistan. Mirzahalilov is the top seed in the draw and is the defending champion as well.
Thapa, on the other hand, will square off against Kuwait’s Nader Odah, who got a first round bye.
The score-line might suggest otherwise, but Hussamuddin was locked in a gruelling battle with the 19-year-old Asian youth champion.
The exchange of blows was fierce as the two boxers put up an entertaining show. The Indian, however, proved to be a better defender than the Kazakh, who relied just too heavily on counter-attacks.
Thapa, on the other hand, wasn’t tested too much against Puchinn, who took quite a while to even land his first blow.
The Kyrgyz boxer’s withdrawn approach worked well for the former champion, who didn’t have to try too hard to break through his defences.
Thapa dominated all three rounds in the contest and got a unanimous verdict from the judges.
On Tuesday, Sakshi (54kg), Jasmine (57kg), Sanjeet (91kg) and Olympic-bound Simranjit Kaur (60kg) will fight their respective last-8 stage bouts at the event which is being jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India and the UAE Boxing Federation. Thapa and Hussamuddin will also be in action an seek to enter the medal rounds.
The continental showpiece features 150 pugilists from 17 countries this year including strong boxing nations such as Uzbekistan, Philippines and Kazakhstan.
India’s best-ever show at the Asian Championship was in the 2019 edition in Bangkok where the country secured an unprecedented 13 medals including two gold, four silver and seven bronze.
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