Panghal, Shiva storm into India Open semis

GUWAHATI: Asian Games gold medallist, Amit Panghal (52kg) and Asian Championships bronze medallist, Shiva Thapa (60kg) stormed into the semifinals on the third day of the 2nd India Open International Boxing Tournament here on Wednesday.

Fresh from his Asian Championships success, Panghal faced early resistance from Thailand’s veteran Chakapong Chanpirom whom he was meeting for the first time in his career. But the 23-year-old proved his mettle to earn a 5-0 win and march his way into the semi-finals.

“It was a tight bout. A lot of boxers have changed category from 49kg to 52kg like me. So it’s important to study each one carefully and chalk out separate strategies for each,” said Amit, having changed his weight category from 49kg to 52kg with an eye on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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Local boy Shiva Thapa soared to a 5-0 win over Hellene Damien of Mauritius. Thapa, who became the first Indian to win medals from four consecutive Asian Championships, started with a defensive attitude until he freed up from the second round to deliver the blows.

“Never have I contested such a tall boxer before. So my strategy was to attack from inside and I am glad I could execute with perfection,” said Thapa after the win.

Former world youth champion Sachin Siwach’s dazzling performance was the highlight of the day as he knocked out the 2018 Asian Games silver medallist Rogen Siaga Ladon of Philippines 4-1 to make the last-four stage of 52kg.

Kavinder Singh Bisht (56kg) continued his fine form after winning gold at the GeeBee Boxing tournament and a silver at the Asian Championships this year. He held his nerves to stave off some stiff resistance from Mario Fernandez of Philippines and register a 3-2 win in a split decision.

However, Mohammed Hussamuddin was not so lucky in the same category as he fell to a 2-3 defeat to Thailand’s former Asian champion Chatchai Decha Butdee in a hard-fought bout.

In 49kg, Asian Championships silver medallist, Deepak outclassed Thailand’s Samak Saehan 4-1 to advance to the semi-finals.

Former World Championships bronze medallist Gaurav Bidhuri also progressed to the last-four stage of 56kg with a commanding 5-0 win over Turkmenistan’s Bayramhan Permanov. In 52kg, Commonwealth Games champion Gaurav Solanki asserted his supremacy over Mauritius’s Louis Fleurot en route to a 5-0 win.

Last year’s India Open 60kg champion Manish Kaushik began the successful defence of his title with a 5-0 win over Thiwa Janthacumpa of Thailand. 2018 World Youth bronze medallist Ankit showed his maturity in his 5-0 demolition of Nepal’s Prakash Limbu Ijam.

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