There was no stopping the established names despite their bruises and niggles as the likes of World Championships bronze-medallist Shiva Thapa (60kg) and Asian Championships silver winner L Devendro Singh (52kg) advanced to the finals of the National Men’s Boxing Championships here on Monday.
Joining them in the summit clashes was two-time Olympian and former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (69kg). All the three boxers have jumped weight categories in this event.
Shiva entered the ring against Punjab’s Vijay Kumar with a heavily bruised forehead after being head-butted in his quarterfinal bout last evening. Well aware that Vijay would look to open up the wound through a straight hit and force an early injury stoppage, Shiva kept him at a distance and hit some lusty right hooks to get the upper hand.
The local favourite’s approach remained the same for most part of the bout but he did shift gears in the final minute to be the aggressor.
Shiva will be up against Haryana’s Ankush Dahiya in the finals on Tuesday. Ankush, an Asian Youth silver medallist, upstaged Railways Sports Promotion Board veteran Vikas Malik in his semifinal contest. The Haryana teen clinched the issue 5-0. Devendro, who has only recently recovered from an ankle injury, was up against Maharashtra’s Anata Chopre and like all his bouts so far in the tournament, this one was also a tough one for the Manipuri, still trying to find his rhythm in flyweight after jumping from light flyweight.
Aggression was not in short supply as both Devendro and Anata had a go at each other but both ran the risk of being penalised for excessive bending. The warnings did come through in the third round for both the boxers but Devendro’s clean hitting had done the job for him by that point.
In the summit clash, Devendro will square off against Chandigarh’s Deepak Singh, who defeated Mizoram’s Laldinmawa 3-2 in a closely-contested bout.
However, two-time Olympian and former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (69kg) had no trouble disposing off the challenge from Chandigarh’s Ankush Hudda and won the contest 5-0. Manoj will face Services Sports Control Board’s (SSCB) Duryodhan Singh in the final on Tuesday. Duryodhan defeated Delhi’s Prayag Chavan 5-0.
In the bantamweight (56kg), the final showdown will be between SSCB’s Mohd Hussamuddin and Haryana’s Akshay. While Hussamuddin outpunched Uttarakhand’s Sheran Sandhu 5-0, Akshay edged past Andhra Pradesh’s Gidi Venkata 4-1.