GUWAHATI, April 24 - Having marked his return to the ring with a 2-1 victory over Shamil Askerov of Patriot Boxing Team (PBT) in the second home leg of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) in Rohtak recently, Shiva Thapa�s next target remains the Asian Games podium.
Asked how does he rate his WSB victory, Shiva said: �It�s a huge comeback for me because WSB was something which I was looking forward to. After three years of gap from my last WSB match, I knew it was going to be tough because there would be five rounds and the opponent from Russia already had a few WSB wins and is ranked four. I was very prepared and saw some of his videos and we discussed and set up my plans accordingly. It was a tough fight but I am really happy for the win.�
Last weekend two back to back winning performances by the Tigers against Russia and China has ensured that India is still in the race for the knockout stage, as the team will be playing China in an away match. Win against China will give India a solid chance to stake claims for the knockout stage.
WSB performance for India is a great opportunity to create more quotas for Indian boxers at the 2020 Olympics.
Despite being a two time Olympian, Shiva failed to make it to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games which concluded recently. Asked whether he still remains disappointed, the 24-year-old boxer said: �Definitely I was very disappointed when I couldn�t book a berth for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as I went through some injuries before the quadrennial event. The most important thing in life is to stay strong and to stay confident. There are ups and downs in everyone�s life but it�s important to believe in yourself.�
Asked regarding his immediate goals, the boxer from Guwahati said: �I have a lot more goals ahead of me as the Asian Games is coming and ultimately 2020 Tokyo Olympics is there. So I am just focusing on the Asian Games now.�
With the women pugilists from Assam making a name for themselves off late, men�s boxing has hardly progressed into the same path.
�The male boxers are also doing good and at the recently conducted Senior Nationals, Assam has won two medals and there are two to three good boxers in the national camp as well. The women boxers are doing a good job and there are lot of boxers who are emerging from Assam and the Northeast.
�The support system which the federation is giving and the kind of sport culture which is evolving around Assam and Northeast has really boosted the cause in a big way. With so many championships being organised in Assam, I believe there will be many more boxers coming up from the State,� Shiva opined.
Regarding the recently concluded home leg matches of the WSB, Boxing Federation of India president Ajay Singh said: �This was our last home leg matches for the season and we finished it on a high. Our boxers outshined the Russians and Chinese teams and at the same time the boxers had a great opportunity to use the WSB platform and prove their potential for the upcoming Asian Games as our preparations for it has already started. I am glad to see champion boxers like Shiva Thapa being part of Indian Tigers while young pugilists of our country are also getting a great exposure as they get to compete against renowned boxers from all over the world.
�Our success at the CWG is a result of the exposure trips and world class training facilities and the WSB platform is yet another sphere where the boxers can learn and more so through WSB as we can also reserve additional berths for the 2020 Olympics giving India better chances to take a shot at winning medals at the Olympics,� he concluded.