Asian champion Vikas Krishan (60kg) and Shiva Thapa (54kg) assured themselves of not just a medal but also a berth in the Youth Olympic Games after qualifying for the semifinals of the World youth boxing championships in Baku, Azerbaijan on Friday.
While Shiva thrashed Russian Vadim Semin 13-3, Vikas blanked Ireland's Michael O'Reilly 8-0 in his quarterfinal bout. The wins take them into the medal rounds of the tournament and the main draw of the inaugural Youth Olympics, scheduled in August-September in Singapore.
However, it was curtains for J. Bhaskar (51kg), who lost to local favourite Shaban Shahpalangov. The Indian was trailing 2-14 with little over a minute left in the bout when the referee stopped the bout. Bhaskar had faced the eight-count twice at that stage, enough for the bout to be called off at the youth level.
But Shiva and Vikas continued their rampaging form in an event which features over 450 boxers from 90 countries.
Shiva, a diminutive counter-puncher from Assam, came to the ring after India's campaign had suffered a setback due to Bhaskar's loss and he ensured that the smiles were back in the camp with a thumping victory.
The Hyder Aliyev Cup gold medallist took a handy 5-1 lead in the first round itself and added four more points to his tally in the second round.
“Semin was taller than me but I had studied him well before going into the bout. He likes to strike straight but whenever he tried hitting, I counter-attacked with right crosses and hooks,” Shiva said from Baku. “I cornered him and as the gap widened between the two of us, he lost his cool also,” he added.
The final three minutes belonged to the Indian completely as he didn't let his opponent connect a single scoring punch to finish it off 13-3 in the end.
After a rest day on Saturday, Shiva will face Roumania's Alexandru Marin, who defeated Welshman Zack Davies 9-7 in a closely-contested bout.
After Shiva, it was Vikas' turn to put in a power-packed show. Fresh from his Asian youth championships gold medal last month, the Haryana boxer pulled off five of his eight points in the first round itself.
He took it easy from there on against an opponent who hardly troubled him and made it 2-0 and 1-0 in the next two rounds respectively.
“It was an excellent performance by Vikas. He has gone from strength to strength with every bout,” said coach G. Manoharan.
Vikas will also get a break on Saturday and faces Germany's Thomas Vahrenholt, who got the better of Armenia's Hryar Matevosyan, in the semifinals.
Keywords: World youth boxing championships