SHILLONG, Nov 27: They were the fighters everyone wanted to see today – six-time Asian Championship medallist Shiva Thapa and 2022 Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Amit Panghal – and they did not disappoint as they both won their respective fights on the third day of the 7th Elite Men’s National Boxing Championship at the SAI Indoor Hall here.
However, the loudest cheers were reserved for one of Meghalaya’s own, Bhalang Shadap, who came out all guns blazing to demolish his opponent Enait Khan of DNHDD (Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu) in the welterweight 63.5-67kg category.
Shadap never let his opponent settle in at all, furiously delivering blow after blow and the referee stopped the contest in the second round and Khan had to be helped away from the ringside.
Shadap is the second Meghalayan to progress after Badonkupar Synnah (light welterweight 60-63.5kg) yesterday.
In one of the earlier bouts of the day, Panghal of Services, who was also the 2018 Asian Games champion, won his flyweight 48-51kg fight against Shivaji of Maharashtra fairly comfortably in a unanimous verdict on points, having had the measure of his opponent from the word go.
In the evening came time for Thapa of Assam’s fight against Abhinash Jamwal of Himachal Pradesh in the light welterweight 60-63.5kg category and this contest saw a split decision by the judges 4-3 in favour of Thapa.
He was definitely the favourite among the crowd, with locals thrilled to see a boxer of such high calibre, all thanks to this event being held in Shillong.
Jamwal was a tough fighter to go up against in an opening bout and he landed a number of blows on his more famous opponent. However, after going toe-to-toe for three punishing rounds, the judges, narrowly, awarded the win to Thapa to the delight of the spectators.
The championship, which will conclude on 1 December, is being organised by the Meghalaya Boxing Association in collaboration with the Boxing Federation of India and sponsored by the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of Meghalaya.
Another two Meghalaya boxers were also involved today, both, unfortunately, on the losing side.
Melvin Malngiang, in the featherweight 54-57kg category, and Sanjeev Maskut, in the 46-48kg minimum category, went down to Himanshu Srivas and Ram Naresh Patel respectively, with both the winners representing Madhya Pradesh. Both of the local pugilists gave a good account of themselves but the judges’ decisions went against them.