New Delhi (Sakal Times): Olympian Shiva Thapa and former World Women’s champion Sarita Devi assured themselves of at least a medal each, scoring facile victories and easing into the semifinals of the SpiceJet India Open International Boxing Tournament here at the Thyagraj Indoor stadium on Tuesday.
Recently crowned Indian national women’s featherweight champ Sonia Lather, however, suffered a shock defeat in the hands of Indonesia’s Marwami Jembay. Sonia lost 2-3 to miss out on a medal opportunity.
Young Shiva had to fight hard to shake off Sherbek Rakhmatulloev in the light-weight category. Sherbek proved to be a rock solid opponent, and a solid left which crashed through the Indian’s guard each time he unleashed it.
Shiva looked lost in the opening stanza, when the Uzbek came calling no sooner than the bell went off. He exploded right into Indian’s face and body points, and didn’t allow the Indian to settle into a rhythm. Each time, Shiva tried to break free, Sherbek effortlessly ducked and weaved out of harm’s way, making for a difficult target to hit.
Shiva, however, managed to turn on the heat in the second and final round, freeing his arms and finding his target with jabs and hooks.
The victory ensured a mouth-watering semifinal clash against his arch Indian rival Manish Kaushik, who looks to be in the form of his life. Manish is on a high, after stunning Cuban Rabi in the first round and withstood a stiff challenge from the talented Philippine boxer Charley Suarez.
Nesthy Petecio of the Philippines also fought off a good fight from Thailand’s Tassamalee Thongjan in the feather-weight category to storm into the semifinals.
Two other bouts went down to the wire, with Essiane Clotilde sneaking past Pooja Rani in the middle-weight division while Thailand’s Panish Suchada outgunned Rumi Gogoi also in the same division.