Olympian and 2012 Asian Olympic Qualifying tournament gold medallist Shiva Thapa (56kg) reasserted his stature as one of the rising star of Indian Boxing with another brilliant performance in the title round of the ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championship at Amman. The 19 year old won himself the gold medal and with it the top podium finish in bantam weight division of the continental championship.
Thapa making his second international appearance since the 2012 London Olympics – first being the Konstantin Korotkov Memorial tournament in Russia, where he won a bronze medal –beat Malbekov Omurbek from Kyrgyzstan to make his place in the finals of the championship. In the title bout Thapa did not just have to contend with Obada Alkabeh, but also a fierce home support for the local lad. He made a strong start, landing some cracking hooks and continued to be aggressive trying to put the Jordanian boxer on the back foot. In the second round Alkabeh replied with some aggressive combinations of his own, but Shiva was relentless and gained the advantage with his precise counter attacks. In the end he went on to bag the gold medal with a hard fought victory on a split decision from the judges. The gold medal win at Amman is a career highlight for the boxer from Assam, who has shown tremendous skill and gusto upstaging some tough opponents in the tournament. An elated Shiva, after winning the Continental title expressed, “This is a very rewarding win for me. I have been training very hard to make sure I perform to best of my ability and I am very happy to have won the Asian Champion title”.
National Coach GS Sandhu was all praises for way Shiva fought. He said, “Shiva is a very perceptive boxers and has to ability to quickly adapt his game according to that of his opponent. He also possesses some great fire power which we saw in abundance today. I am very pleased to see him win the continental title, which will also be a great boost for his confidence and in his preparations for the World Championships”.
But there was disappointment for L Devendro Singh (49kg) as he came agonisingly close to claiming the gold in the finals of the light fly weight division. The 21 year old put up sterling performance against some power hitting from Temertas Zhussupov of Kazakhstan. In the end though, he had to be content with a silver medal finish from the championship after losing on a split decision. National Games bronze medallist Mandeep Jangra (69kg) also had to make do with a silver medal after losing out to 2010 Asian Games gold medallist Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan in the finals of the welter weight category. Jangra fought well but was not able to consistently break the solid guard of the Kazakh boxer. The superior technique of Yeleussinov proved to be too good for the Indian and in the end he lost on a unanimous decision.
The Indian boxers return from the tournament with four medal haul (1 gold medal, 2 silver medals and 1 bronze medal). Earlier in the championship Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) lost out to London Olympics bronze medallist Uranchimegiin Monkh-Erdene of Mongolia in the semi-finals of the light welter weight division and had to be content with a bronze medal.