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Guwahati: Former World Championships bronze medallist Shiva Thapa made it to the semi final of the second edition of India Open Boxing Tournament being held in Guwahati on Wednesday by defeating Hellene Damien in style. In the lightweight match, the local lad won in a unanimous decision 5-0. Shiva who adopted an aggressive way of playing recently started cautiously and launched ruthless attacks in the second and third rounds. Though the Mauritius pugilist was taller, Shiva executed the punches with accuracy. “I was well prepared to face a taller boxer. This was my first bout with him in the 60kg weight category. I was trying to get inside and attack him on the body rather than focusing much on his face. Being aggressive helped me to dominate the bout from the beginning. I was trying to get away from his long punches,” Shiva said after the bout.
Shiva added that his experience has helped him to see off his opponent quite effortlessly. “My main challenge in today’s bout was the height of my opponent. My coach had made the strategy and I’m happy it went perfect,” he said. Also Read: Nikhat ready to face her idol Mary Shiva said that it was an overwhelming response to play in front of the home crowd. “I can’t express it with words. It’s a great feeling to play in front of my well wishers, my friends, relatives and all the people of my state and country. It’s acts as a big motivation,” he said. Earlier Shiva had admitted to shifting to more aggressive mode of play. Shiva had suffered a shocking semi-final loss to compatriot Manish Kaushik in 60kg at the India Open last year. The setback coupled with a few more unexpected losses made the 25-year-old introspect and work hard extensively with the coaches to change his game, which was rewarded with a bronze at the continental in Thailand. “I have changed my game. Even in the last Asian Championships, I played much more freely. I am being more aggressive now. This is the style of boxing I have adopted now and our coaches too are helping me with my technique. It’s very important to be aggressive in the ring and it has given me benefits. These days the aggressive boxing is preferred across the globe. The more punch you will give, chances are higher to scoring more points,” Shiva had said prior to the tournament.
Shiva who scripted history by becoming the first Indian pugilist to win four consecutive medals at the Asian Championships in April this year, will be shifting to the 63kg weight category for the World Championships to qualify for the Olympics.