Visakhapatnam : Defending champions Shiva Thapa and Manoj Kumar were assured of their second successive National Championship medals after the celebrated duo advanced to the semi-finals of the event here.
World Championships bronze-medallist Shiva, who is representing Assam, defeated Andhra Pradesh’s V Durga Rao in his quarterfinal bout to enter the last-four stage. The three-time Asian Championships medallist will be up against Punjab’s Palwinder Singh in his lightweight (60kg) semifinal clash today.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj, representing RSPB defeated Pawan of Haryana in the 69 kg category. While Shiva looks all set to retain his national title, the seasoned pro admitted that it wasn’t the easiest of quarter-final bout as Durga Rao fought well. “I have beaten him (Durga) in the past but I always knew how good a boxer he is. So I was fully prepared and came in with a set strategy,” Shiva said after the bout. “He is hard puncher and does not move around much which makes it difficult to go at him toe to toe. So I had to move and attacked him on the counter, when he tried coming close to me. It’s this strategy, which worked wonders for me in the ring today. The results might have gone unanimous in my favour but I must admit it was not an easy win for me,” he added.
In some of the other bouts, three-time King’s Cup gold- medallist K Shyam Kumar (49kg), who is competing for the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB), also entered the medal round with a win over local favourite K Kranthi. Shyam Kumar had won a silver medal in the previous edition of the championship.