The Indian boxing contingent at the 3rd International ?Republic of Kazakhstan President?s Cup? in Almaty, Kazakhstan returned with a bag of mixed results on day two. Asian Games silver medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg) and L Devendro Singh (49kg) advanced to the semi-finals of the tournament with resounding victories. But Youth Olympic silver medallist Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) suffered defeats in their quarter-final bouts, not before giving their opponents a run for their money.
In the light fly weight division, Devendro breezed past his Russian opponent Egorov Vasily with consummate ease. The recently turned 20 year old dominated the game with his electric offence and agile footwork. Vasily had no answer to the Devendro?s superior power play; he was leading 7:2 in the first round and 16:6 by the end of the second. In the last round, the Manipuri boxer continued to attack with his three punch combination and added six more points to his tally, finally winning the bout on points 22:9. Devendro will have a tough ask ahead of him in the semi-finals on Saturday (5 May 2012) as he takes on the experience of Olympian and Asian Games silver medallist Birzhan Zakipov of Kzakhstan. Manpreet Singh also secured his spot in the round of four with another power packed performance. He defeated Telesenko Alaxander of Ukraine in a completely one sided contest. The 23 year old heavy weight was at his menacing best as he overwhelmed the Ukrainian boxer with his hard hitting jabs and body blows. The reigning national champion eventually won the bout 17:7 on points. In the semis he will take on Abduganiev Arbek also of Kazakhstan. Having made it to the semi-finals, both Manpreet and Devendro are now assured of at least a bronze medal finish from the tournament.
In the quarter finals of the bantam weight division Thapa once again gave a fine account of his skills and maturity. Up against AIBA World Boxing Championship gold medallist Alvarez Estrada of Cuba, the 18 year old was not for once fazed by his more experienced opponent. There was not much separating the two boxers throughout the bout, Shiva matched the reigning world champion punch for punch. After the opening round the scores were knotted at 3 all. The Cuban tired to up the ante, but Shiva put of a solid defence and kept coming back with his counter attacks. Estrada though grabbed a crucial one point lead by the end of the second, but Thapa managed to level things once again in the final round. After nine minutes of high octane fighting the scores even at 16 all, unfortunately for India though, Thapa lost on count back (48:49). It was a brilliant show put up by the teenage boxer from Assam, who has displayed great understanding of the game and is bright prospect for the future of Indian boxing. Manoj too put up a brave performance, but in the end was defeated at the hands of Ulihanov Azhat of Almaty (KAZ). The 25 year old, who was leading with two points after the first round, lost the advantage to some spirited boxing by the Ukrainian in the second. The Indian made a comeback in the third with some hard hitting blows, but it was not enough to take game away from Ulihanov. Manoj lost on points 14:18 in the end.
Day three of the tournament will witness three Indian boxer take to the rings. World Championship bronze medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg) will take on Kojabekov Bakhitjan of the Kazakhstan 2 team in the quarter-finals. Lakhbeer Singh (69Kg) will go up against Sapiev Serik of Kazakhstan, while Kanwar Preet Singh (+91Kg) will lock horns with Demmene Nadir of Algeria.