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Shiva, Devendro and Manoj reach finals of National Boxing Championship

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Local favourites Shiva Thapa (60kg), Laishram Devendro Singh (52kg) battled odd injuries to storm into the finals of their respective new weight categories at the ongoing Senior National Championships in Guwahati on Monday.

Two-time Olympian Manoj Kumar (69kg), who moved up from his 64kg category also registered an easy win to reach the summit clash while it was heartbreak for Asian Games silver medallist Dinesh Kumar (91kg) at the Sarusajai Indoor Stadium.

Boxing in front of a vociferous home crowd, Shiva with a heavily bruised forehead lived up to the expectations when he punched Punjab's Vijay Kumar out by a 5-0 unanimous decision in the semi-final of the lightweight category.

The 23-year-old Shiva, who was allegedly head-butted during his quarter-final encounter by his opponent Ashok from the All India Police (AIP) on Sunday, however, did not let his injury hamper his game on Monday.

After completely dominating the first round, the Asian Games gold medallist quickly gained the upper hand in the second round by flooring his opponent before the Punjab boxer managed to retaliate to some extent. Throughout the bout, Vijay focussed on Shiva's forehead but the Assamese boxer smartly managed to keep himself out of his range.

In the final three minutes, Shiva counter-attacked with a volley of punches before flooring Vijay once again as the referees wasted no time in delivering a 5-0 unanimous verdict in favour of the World Championships bronze-medallist.

"It was a tough bout, semi-finals can never be easy at any tournament. But today, at the same time, I had to save myself from being hit on my forehead which my opponent was targetting," Shiva told IANS after his bout.

"I have to stay focussed for the final tomorrow and also take care of my injury. Hopefully it turns out to be an exciting contest.

The two-time Olympian will now take on Haryana's Ankush, who beat Vikas Malik of the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) by an unanimous 5-0 verdict.

Accusing his Sunday's opponent Ashok of "intentionally" hurting him during the quarter-final bout, Shiva said: "He played a dirty game. It was beyond the spirit of the game."

Meanwhile, another crowd puller in the north-east, Devendro, who has only recently recovered from an ankle injury, had to overcome some anxious moments in the ring before beating Maharashtra pugilist Ananta Chopre 3-2 in their flyweight category semi-final tie. The diminutive 24-year-old will now take on Chandigarh's Deepak Singh in the final on Tuesday.

Former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar registered an easy 5-0 win against Chandigarh's Ankush Hudda. The Haryana boxer will face Services Sports Control Board's (SSCB) Duryodhan Singh in the final. Duryodhan defeated Delhi's Prayag Chavan 5-0.

Contesting in his comeback tournament after a gap of more than two years, All India Police's (AIP) Dinesh gave a tough fight to Himachal Pradesh's Virender Kumar, but went down 2-3 in the heavyweight category semi-final bout.Virender will now take on Madhya Pradesh's Gaurav in the summit clash.

In light heavyweight (81kg) category, Railway Sports Promotion Board's (RSPB) Manish Pawar will square off against Madhya Pradesh's Rahul in the final.

In super heavyweight (+91kg) category, SSCB's Satish Kumar will take on Haryana's Parveen Kumar in the final.

In middleweight (75kg) category, Mizoram's Venhlimpuia proved too powerful for Manipur's Nanao Singh and won 5-0 after the referees stopped the contest. He will take on SSCB's Jaideep in the final.

Among others, in the light flyweight category, RSPB's Shayam Kumar emerged too powerful for Maharashtra's Akshay, as the referees ruled the tie 5-0 in favour of Kumar after the first round. Kumar will now take on Haryana's Amit, who entered the final after a walkover from Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) boxer Bahadur Rana.

In bantamweight (56kg) category, SSCB's Md. Hussamuddin outplayed Uttarakhand's Sheran Sandhu 5-0 to set up his summit clash against Haryana's Akshay, who overcame a close fight 4-1 from Andhra Pradesh's Gidi Venkta.

In light welterweight (64kg) category, RSPB boxer Rohit edged 3-2 past Sandeep from the All India Police squad. In the final, Rohit will face SSCB's Thomans Meitei who thrashed Manipur's Roshan Singh 5-0 in their semi-final bout.