3 Indians in Asian Boxing Championships finals
New Delhi: The young Indian troika of L Devendro Singh (49kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Mandeep Jangra (69kg) continued their fine form to enter the finals of the Asian Boxing Championships in Amman, Jordan.
The three young guns are now assured of at least a silver medal finish from the tournament.
The nimble-footed Devendro was at his menacing best against L V Bin from China. The 21-year-old dominated the bout from the very beginning and won comfortably. The World Championship quarter-finalist will now look better the colour of his first medal when he takes on Temertas Zhussupov of Kazakhstan.
Shiva, making his second international appearance since the 2012 London Olympics, was up against Malbekov Omurbek from Kyrgyzstan in his semi-final bout.
He started slowly but soon nosed ahead with the help of some sharp jabs and swift footwork. In the second and the third round Malbekov fell 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 next take on another 19-year-old Obada Alkabeh from the home team today.
Jangra too continued his purple patch. The 20-year-old 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 punishing body blows. But Jangra`s solid defence and counter-attacking paid off and he kept accumulating crucial points.
After nine minutes of intense boxing, the Indian emerged victorious on a unanimous decision from the judges. The national champion will now lock horns with 2010 Asian Games gold-medallist Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan.
But there was disappointment for Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) in the semi-finals of the light welterweight division.
Pitted against Olympic bronze-medallist Uranchimegiin Monkh-Erdene, Kumar gave his opponent a run for his money but 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.
National Coach GS Sandhu was extremely pleased with the performance of all the four boxers in the semi-finals.
"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 said.
"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," he added.