While India was creating history at 6th Asian Women’s Boxing Championship at Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia ? with eight women’s boxers making it to the semi-finals, World Championship bronze medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Youth Olympic silver medallist Shiva Thapa (56kg) were making headway at the 43rd Men's and Women's Boxing Grand Prix at ?st? nad Labem, Czech Republic. Krishan and Thapa, both playing their first international tournament this year, assured India of at least two medals after cementing their place in the semi-finals of the tournament on Thursday (22nd Mar’12).
Vikas, who has already secured a berth at the London Olympics, was at his menacing best as he took on Dauhliavets Yauheni from Belarus. The nimble footed, 20 year old dominated the game throughout, never allowing the Belarus boxer to find his rhythm. He went on to beat Yauheni on points, in what turned out to be a completely one-sided affair (13:2). In the round of four the Asian Games gold medallist will lock horns with one of the newcomers in the Cuban line up, Arisnoide Despaigne. Despaigne is the new Cuban welterweight no. 1 and one who replaced Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist, Carlos Banteur. Vikas will have to be on top of his game to get the better of the Cuban boxer in the semi-finals.
Thapa, the rousing boxing star from Assam, took on Hungary’s Krizstian Nagy in the quarter-finals. Going into the bout, Shiva had a psychological advantage over the Hungarian boxer, having defeated him last year the in the semi-finals of ‘Belgrade Winner’ tournament in Serbia, en route to winning the gold medal. Shiva made a confident start, and never allowed his opponent to get back in the game. He went on to secure his semi-final spot with a comprehensive 11:3 victory on points. The Youth World Championship silver medallist will now take on local lad Velky Patrik in the penultimate round of the championship.
Team coach Jagdeep Hooda was pleased with the performance of the two boxers. He said, “Both the boxers stuck to the basics and played their natural game. Vikas has effectively grown in strength and overpowered his opponent with ease; he was exceptional with his ring movement as well. Shiva also fought very well, he attacked at the right instant and was solid in his defence.”
But the tournament turned out to be a dampener for the other Indian boxers in the competition. Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) made a strong start in his opening round bout drubbing Ruslan Shabloski of Belarus (RSC OC, Round 2), but the Olympic bound boxer was defeated in the round two of the light welter weight division by former world champion Roniel Iglesias. He lost out on points 12:20.
London Olympic-qualified Jai Bhagwan (60kg) and Tammer Cup silver medallist Sumit Sangwan (81kg) lost their opening round bouts of the championship. While Jai Bhagwan went down to Martin Ward of England, Sangwan came up short against?his Lithuanian opponent?in a hard fought contest.
The was disappointment for India in the women’s division as well, with Asian Games bronze medallist Kavita Goyat (75kg), Van Lal Duati (51kg) and Preeti Beniwal (60kg) also losing out in the first round of the championship.