India bagged two silver and two bronze medals and a total of seven berths for the World Championship event from the recently concluded Asian Boxing Championship at Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The medal winners for India were Shiva Thapa & Sumit Sangwan (silver) and Amit Phangal & Vikas Krishan (Bronze). Apart from them, other three boxers who got the World Championship ticket were Kavinder Singh Bisht, Manoj Kumar and Satish Kumar.
Shiva Thapa became the first Indian boxer to claim three back-to-back medals in the Asian Championship. He won a gold in 2013 and a bronze in 2015 editions. At Tashkent, he began his campaign well edging past Kyrgyzstan’s Omurbek Malabekov in the opening round and then defeated Chu En-lai of Chinese Taipei in quarter finals. He emerged triumphant against Olympic bronze medallist and Asian Games gold medallist and top seed Dorjnyambuu Otgondalai of Mongolia in the semi final but finally had to settle for silver. He lost to local favourite Elnur Abduraimov in split verdict after a head-butt from his opponent resulted in a cut. It happened in final few seconds which allowed referee to stop the bout.
Sumit Sangwan also clinched a silver medal. He lost to Kazakhstan’s top-seeded and Rio Olympic Games silver medallist Vassiliy Levit in a unanimous verdict.
The tournament featured 179 boxers from 28 countries. The top six in each of the ten weight categories made the cut for the World Boxing Championship scheduled at Hamburg, Germany in August-September this year.
Three boxers who lost in the quarter finals won their respective box-off bouts and qualified for the World Championship. Third seed Satish Kumar (+91kg) and 6th seed Manoj Kumar (69kg) defeated two Chinese boxers -Mu Haipeng and Liu Wei, the second seed respectively. Kavinder Singh Bisht (52kg) got a walkover from Malaysia’s Salam Abdul Kasim.
The other two boxers who also made it last eight stage lost their box-off bouts and an opportunity to win Wolrd Championship’s berths. Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) lost to Japan’s Ryomei Tanaka in split decision while Manish Panwar (81kg) went down to Pakistan’s Awais Ali Khan.
|… by Animesh Khare|