CHENNAI: Shiva Thapa has had a rough year or so inside the ring, with injuries not helping his case. One of the only four elite male boxers to have won a medal in the World Championships, he has been a pale shadow of himself during this lean phase. Form has eluded him and with the advent of young boxers, he has lost his top status. The fact that Manish Kaushik was chosen over Shiva for the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games was a big indicator of his fall.
His exclusion was not felt at Gold Coast as Kaushik and all the other men boxers returned home with a medal around their neck. The once-celebrated pugilist, who plies his trade in 60 kg category, will have a mountain to climb to reclaim his old status. With the CWG hangover yet to get over, he will be seen in action when Indian Tigers take on Patriot Boxing Team from Russia in World Series of Boxing (WSB), in Noida on Saturday.
“This is my first brush with the Tigers and playing the semi-professional circuit after 2014, I’m confident that I can make this opportunity count and secure a win,” the three-time Asian champion said. This is the second home leg for the Tigers, who have lost three matches so far. Shiva & Co will look to make the most of familiar conditions and ride on home support. Kavinder Singh Bisht (52 kg), who was the sole winner in the team’s trip to Kazakhstan for the opening game, will look to continue his winning run. “I’m prepared to give my best.
Playing in front of home fans should spur us to perform well,” Kavinder told Express. The Tigers will also comprise of two-time national championship silver medallist Duryodan Singh Negi (69 kg), Brijesh Yadav (81 kg) and Narender (+91 kg) as part of the card against the Patriot Team. In the away trip in Kazan, Tigers had lost 1-4. World youth champ Sachin Siwach was the sole winner for Tigers then.
“India are a good team and hopefully we can defeat them on their home turf,” Andrei Andreev, promoter of Patriot Boxing team, said. On Sunday, the Tigers will be up against China Dragons. Mandeep Jangra will lead the charge against the Dragons. Like Shiva, the 2014 CWG silver medallist has lost his No 1 status and will be determined to leave a strong impression. It will a crucial tie as both the teams look to make the playoffs.