India’s Shiva Thapa on Sunday became the first-ever male boxer in the history of Asian Championships to win six medals after he out-punched Minsu Choi of South Korea to the progress to the semifinals in Amman, Jordan. The seasoned Thapa prevailed 4-1 over Choi in the light welterweight quarterfinal to secure his sixth consecutive medal. The 28-year-old dominated from the start to the end, using his jabs to great effect.
With the win, Thapa is assured of at least a bronze medal in the ongoing edition, bettering his own position as the most successful Indian boxer in the tournament.
His haul includes a gold (2013), two silvers (2017 and 2021) and as many bronze medals (2015 and 2019).
He overtook Kazakh legend Vassiliy Levit, an Olympic silver medallist and two-time world bronze medal winner, who was the only other male pugilist with five Asian championship medals.
Women’s boxing legends M.C. Mary Kom (7) and L Sarita Devi (8) have more Asian medals than Thapa, with the latter having the distinction of claiming six successive, five of them gold, at the peak of her prowess.
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Two-time Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mohammad Hussamuddin (57kg) and Govind Kumar Sahani (48kg) also progressed to the semifinals as India’s medal count continued to swell.
Up against South Korea’s Haengseok Lee in the quarterfinal bout, Hussamuddin (57kg) fell behind early with his rival landing clean punches in the opening round.
With the prospects of an upset looming, Commonwealth bronze medallist Hussamuddin utilised his experience to make a comeback. He went all out in the next two rounds to dominate his way to a 5-0 win and guarantee yet another medal for India.
Hussamuddin will face the 2021 World Championships silver medallist Serik Temirzha in his semifinals bout on November 10.
In the other quarterfinal, Thailand Open gold medallist Ananta Chopade (54kg) bowed out of the competition after suffering a 0-4 loss to Seidekmatov Sanzhai of Kyrgyzstan.
On Saturday night, Anikushita Boro (56kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (75 kg) prevailed over Tsubata Arsia of Japan and Valentina Khalzova of Kazakhstan, respectively, to progress to the semifinals.
Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina, who was contesting in the 75kg weight category for the first time at an international tournament, had to work hard to earn a 3-2 split decision victory against the 2016 world champion Khalzova.
The Assam boxer, who won the bronze medal in 69kg at the Tokyo Olympics, has moved up to 75kg division as her former weight class doesn’t feature in the Paris Olympics.
However, it was the end of the road for Pooja (70kg), who suffered a 0-5 defeat at the hands of Kazakhstan’s Dariga Shakimova in her last eight bout.
Earlier on Saturday, debutants Minakshi (52kg) and Preeti (57kg) and world championships bronze medallist Parveen had sealed semifinal berths.
Five Indian male pugilists — Narender ( 92kg), Naveen Kumar (92kg), Lakshya Chahar (80kg), Sumit (75kg) and Sachin (71kg) — will take to the ring on Monday to compete in the quarterfinals stage.
The competition is witnessing participation of 267 boxers from 27 top boxing nations.
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