Asian Games: Boxers Shiva Thapa, Kuldeep Singh in Quarters; Akhil Kumar Bows Out

Updated: 26 September 2014 18:51 IST

Shiva Thapa (56 kg) and Kuldeep Singh (81 kg) advanced to the quarters in their respective categories while Akhil Kumar bowed out of the Asian Games in Incheon.

Asian Games: Boxers Shiva Thapa, Kuldeep Singh in Quarters; Akhil Kumar Bows Out
A file pic of Indian boxer Shiva Thapa.

Incheon, South Korea:
A file pic of Indian boxer Shiva Thapa.

Continental champion Shiva Thapa (56kg) was barely tested as he advanced to the quarterfinals but it was curtains for comeback-man Akhil Kumar (60kg) after he lost an edge-of-the-seat last-16 bout on a bitter-sweet day for Indian boxing in the 17th Asian Games in Incheon on Friday. (Day 7 Highlights | Medals Tally)

Also advancing to the quarterfinals was multiple-times national champion Kuldeep Singh (81kg) at the Seonhak Gymnasium.

Shiva, who got a walkover in the first round, was the first to take the ring for India on Friday and he was in there for just about a minute and 25 seconds against Pakistan's Nadir.

The Assamese boxer managed to open a cut above the right eye of Nadir. The referee awarded the bout to Shiva the moment Nadir started bleeding, declaring it a Technical Knockout (Injury).

Next man in for India was Kuldeep against Thailand's Thongkrathok Anavat and he clinched the bout 2-1 on points.

The Indian boxer had the height advantage and was distinctly more agile.

In fact, Anavat was left quite unsettled by Kuldeep's combination of uppercuts and hooks which had the Thai ducking for cover.

With a 2-0 lead in hand, the Indian played it safe in the final three minutes even as Anavat went all out. The late aggression was enough to get him the final round but was not enough to stop the Indian from advancing to the next round.

The evening session, however, turned out to be a disappointing one for India.

Akhil, on a comeback trail after three years of injury-forced hibernation, was impressive to start with against Filipino Charly Suarez but eventually fell short in a throughly entertaining bout.

The 33-year-old Indian took his much younger opponent by surprise in the opening three minutes, displaying better foot movement and markedly sharp reflexes. With his guard down, Akhil invited Suarez to attack before getting the better of him in counter-hitting.

Suarez, however, refused to fall for the bait in the next two rounds, exercising remarkable restraint while dealing with Akhil's showmanship.

While Suarez relied heavily of hitting straight and clear, Akhil targeted his opponent's torso, a tactic which did not yield the kind of results that the Indian might have hoped for.

In the end, fatigue caught up with Akhil, who looked drained out in the final three minutes. A rather hard cross on the face rattled the veteran Indian to the extent that his gum-shield came out just 10 seconds before the closing bell.

The final scoreline read 2-1 in favour of Suarez. The two boxers exchanged a warm hug, lauding each other for the entertaining fight.

Amritpreet Singh (91kg) was the last Indian to take the ring on Friday and he fought hard before losing 1-2 to home favourite Park Namhyeong.

The Indian gave it his all and matched his rival blow for blow but in the end the two out of three judges chose Namhyeong as the preferred winner after the two were tied on scores even though the third judge had given the bout to Amritpreet.

Topics : Boxing Asian Games 2014
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