23-year-old Amit Panghal and 25-year-old Shiva Thapa breezed through into the finals of the 52 kg and 60 kg categories respectively. However, Commonwealth Games flyweight champion Gaurav Solanki suffered a shock defeat to 20-year-old Sachin Siwach to crash out in the semi-finals.
It was an action-filled day at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi AC Indoor Stadium, Sarusajai Sports Complex in Guwahati, with multiple Indian pugilists progressing into the final of various categories on Thursday. With 10 Indians guaranteed medals across different categories after being placed directly in the semifinals due to the small number of participants, it did not take away from the intensity of the clashes between the rising stars.
Having won in the show stopper match on day 1 against Quiroga of Argentina, Siwach showed no signs of stopping as he staged a resolute comeback after being outplayed in the early exchanges. Second round onwards, however, the youngster assumed firm control of the game and punched his way to an emphatic 5:0 win.
In another match, homegrown Shiva Thapa enjoyed the full support of the crowd and defeated Krystian Sczepanski of Poland 5:0 to progress into the finals where he will face compatriot Manish Kaushik, after he defeated Ankit 5-0. Thapa later said that he loved playing at Guwahati in the presence of his family.
2018 Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal made light work of PL Prasad with his win never in any doubt, as confirmed by the final score of five to none. He will face Siwach, who has so far emerged as the revelation of the tournament, in the final of the light flyweight category.
In another underdog story, Chatchai Decha Butdee managed to pull off a surprise anonymous victory against the favourite, Gaurav Bidhuri, and hence became only one of three male foreigners still fighting for a medal. In the same category of 56 kg, Madan Lal failed to overcome junior Kavinder Singh Bisht’s onslaught, losing 5-0.
33-year-old army boxer Duryodhan Singh Negi had his work cut out as he went against Dinesh Dagar’s compact guard but the former’s swift jabs and hooks wore down the guard before eventually managing to break through and earn a deserved victory.
In an unfortunate event, Manjeet Panghal experienced a knee twist that saw him rolling on the floor with pain as he was ultimately stretchered out, consequently handing his opponent Philippine Eumir Felix Delos Santos a victory.
In the 91 kg category, Naman Tanwar and Sanjeet will face off in the final in a crunching tie, with both proving the odds right and earning comfortable wins in their matches. Satish Kumar and Naveen Kumar will play in the other final in the 91+ kg category.
With at least 7 gold medals confirmed for the country and as many as 117 nationals in the summit clash competing for the winner’s title, it has been a good tournament so far for the home country as it heads into its final stage.