Olympians L Devendro Singh (49kg) and Shiva Thapa (56kg) along with Limassol Boxing Cup Champion Mandeep Jangra (69kg) stormed into the finals of their respective categories at the ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championship in Amman, here on Sunday. All three boxers are now assured of at least a silver medal finish from the tournament, a Indian Boxing Federation press release said.
But there was disappointment for Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) in the semi-finals of the light welter weight division. Pitted against London Olympics bronze medallist Uranchimegiin Monkh-Erdene of Mongolia, Kumar gave his opponent a run for his money. But in the end the 26-year-old came up short against the Mongolian in what was a fight to the finish. He will have to be content with a bronze medal performance from the tournament.
The nimble footed Devendro was at his menacing best against LV Bin from China. The 21 year old dominated the bout from the very beginning not allowing Bin much space. By the end of the final round the writing was on the wall and it was clear that Singh would be advancing into the final round of the light fly weight division. The 2011 World Boxing Championship quarter-finalist will now look better the colour of his first medal at the Asian Championships when he takes on Temertas Zhussupov, the Strandja Memorial Tournament winner from Kazakhstan.
Thapa making his second international appearance since the 2012 London Olympics - first being the Konstantin Korotkov Memorial in Russia where he won a bronze medal, was up against Malbekov Omurbek from Kyrgyzstan in his semi-final bout. He started slowly but soon caught up and started putting pressure on the Kyrgyz boxer, owing to some sharp jabs and swift footwork. In the second and the third round Malbekov fell prey to the precise counter attacks of Shiva and lost his rhythm. The Indian went on to make a place in the title round with a victory with a unanimous decision. The 19 year old will not stake a claim for the yellow metal when he takes on another 19 year old Obada Alkabeh from the home team on Monday (08 July 2013).
Jangra too continued his purple patch in the fight for the welter weight continental crown. The 20 year old in his third fight on the canvases at Amman was involved in tough scuffle for a place in the finals against Mongolia's Asian Games bronze medallist Jargal Otgonjargal. The Mongolian boxer started strongly with some heavy hitting, including some punishing body blows. But Jangra's solid defence and counter attacking paid off and he kept nicking crucial points. After nine minutes of intense boxing action he emerged victorious on a unanimous decision from the judges. The 2012 Senior Nationals gold medal winner (64kg) will now lock horns with 2010 Asian Games gold medallist Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan.
National Coach GS Sandhu was extremely pleased with the performance of all the four boxers in the semi-finals and said, "All the three boys who have made it to the finals have shown great skill throughout the tournament. They have faced some tough opponents and have proved their mettle to make it to the championship round". He further added, "Even Manoj fought very well against a well renowned pugilist, there was not much separating the two till the very end, but is fair to say he lost to a better boxer.