Shiva Thapa has said that he realised every boxer has a “bluprint” after he watched Andy Cruz dismantle Manish Kaushik, who defeated Thapa in the trials to win a spot for the World Championships. Thapa is quite hopeful that he will qualify for his third Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
During the Boxing World Championships in Russia last month, Manish Kaushik proved everyone why he is regarded as one of India’s most talented boxers. He cruised to the semi-finals of the tournament before going down to world champion Andy Cruz of Cuba and managed to bag a bronze medal at his maiden Worlds event.
Sitting 4,000 kilometres away from the action was the two-time Olympian Shiva Thapa. He was following every bout from his small hostel room in the National Institute of Sports in Patiala. He was impressed with how Kaushik, who defeated him in the trials to win a spot on the team for World Championships, leveled his achievement of winning a bronze medal at the 2015 edition of the tournament.
“Manish is clearly a very good boxer because he is winning and that is never easy,” Thapa told Scroll.in. “You have to stand out to win. He is technically good because he knows how to keep the distance and punch.”
Thapa’s assessment is spot on as Kaushik has to be one of the most technically sound boxers in India and he has proved it on the international stage as well. It took Cruz, the best in the lightweight category, to stop his strong run in Yekaterinburg, Russia. According to Thapa “If you know how to sort out a counter defensive puncher”, you can stop someone like Kaushik.
Thapa realised that every boxer has a “blueprint” after he watched Cruz dismantle Kaushik. At the fourth senior National Championships, Thapa defeated Akash of Services in the 63kg finals. The only time Thapa finished with a silver medal in Nationals was when Kaushik got the better of him in 2017 in Visakhapatnam. Thapa’s ‘blueprint’ is also out there for everyone and Kaushik has studied it too, defeating him in this year’s India Open and the recent selection trials as well.
“I’ve trained more in shifting angles and hitting body punches,” Thapa said. “I’m still making mistakes as I am keeping my head down and moving in a straight line when I am punching. But if I want to throw body punches, I have to throw it at an angle. You have to change posture. That’s true in the ring, many times you want to shift your posture but you see an opening and you punch from whatever position you are in.”
Thapa has taken the risk of exposing himself to more powerful boxers by jumping weights, first, from 56 kg (Olympic category) to 60 kg (non-Olympic category) and then to 63 kg (Olympic category). He wanted to shift to 63kg from 60kg as he knew the latter was not an Olympics category. He feels punches to the body are an effective way to bring down stronger boxers.
“In the last couple of fights, I’m going with a lot more punches to the body. These sorts of punches drain the body and finish the stamina and energy. There are big boxers but my strategy is to feint and then go for the body. The preparation is for the Olympics because it’s not enough to just go to the Olympics. It’s important to do something over there.”
“Since the first qualification is not in my hands, I am planning for the second qualifier,” he said. “If there is any other event, I will box and get some experience in the new weight category. I’m going to keep working and have patience. No one has qualified yet so I am still keeping the hopes high,” Thapa signed off.