Asian c’ships: Shiva in quarters; Lovlina, Ankushita in action on Saturday
Five-time Asian Championship medallist Shiva Thapa

Guwahati: Five-time Asian Championship medallist Shiva Thapa inched closer to his sixth title after storming into the quarterfinals of the ongoing continental meet with a laborious 3:2 split decision victory in Amman on Friday.

Thapa, who recently bagged the bronze in the 67kg weight division at the 36th National Games in Gujarat, switched back to his original 63.5kg category for the Asian Championship in the Jordanian capital.

On Friday, he was up against Mongolia’s Byambatsogt Tuguldur in the pre-quarterfinal bout. Thapa began with his trademark punches and hooks, before Tuguldur bounced back in full force with his combination punches and jabs on target to make it a tricky affair for the judges.

However, towards the end of the final round, the seasoned Indian pugilist gathered himself and used his experience and nimble footwork to good effect, taking the fiercely-contested bout by a split-decision margin.

In the quarterfinals, Thapa will take on the winner of the bout between Haidara Alasaly and Minsu Choi.

Later tonight, Ananta Chopade (54kg) and Etash Muhammed Khan (60kg) will be in action against Japan’s Tanaka Shogo and Thailand’s Khunatip Pudnich, respectively in their pre-quarter finals bout.

Seven Indian women puligists including Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain will kick off their campaign from the quarterfinal stage on Saturday. For the lanky Assamese boxer, this will be her first international outing in the 75kg middleweight category. She will be up against 2016 World Champion, Valentina Khalzova of Kazakhstan.

Last month at the 36th National Games, Lovlina returned from a nose injury to clinch her first gold medal in the 75kg category after beating Haryana’s Saweety Boora in the summit clash.

The 25-year-old had won the bronze in Tokyo in the 69kg welterweight division.

The other six other who will be in action on Saturday are Minakshi (52kg), Sakshi (54kg), Preeti (57kg), Parveen (63kg), Ankushita Boro (66kg) and Pooja (70kg). The competition is witnessing the participation of 267 boxers from 27 top boxing nations.

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