World champion Nikhat Zareen advanced to the women’s 50kg quarter-finals but it was the curtains for Shiva Thapa as he crashed out in the men’s boxing 63 round of 16 on Sunday, 5 kg at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
As Zareen knocked out Helena Ismael Bagao of Mozambique to rush in the final eight rounds of the RSC-winning women’s lightweight division (Refree stopping the contest), Thapa lost 1-4 to the world championship bronze medalist of Scotland Reese Lynch to have a disappointing outing since the Games. The first Indian pugilist to step into the ring that day, Zareen was no match for her young opponent as she dominated the fight from start to finish.
The Indian used her wealth of experience to destabilize Bagao early on. She came out attacking and used her left and right punch combinations to overpower her opponent. Zareen landed clean punches to her opponent’s face in the final round to completely shock her, forcing the referee to call off the tie with 48 seconds left.
Zareen will next face defending Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Troy Garton of New Zealand in the quarter-finals, where a victory will secure him a spot on the podium. Zareen said she would settle for nothing less than a gold medal from the event.
“I’m happy to have won my first fight and I’m looking forward to performing well in the next few rounds. I’m only one fight away from a medal but I’m looking to win the gold from here,” said she said after her fight. Thapa started off on a bright note, clearly outclassing his first-round opponent. But the overconfidence and lack of focus cost Thapa dearly in the next two rounds as the Scotsman used his size and long reach to land clear shots.
In the third and final round, Thapa was still in the competition but Lynch took his opponent by surprise with his aggressive approach as Thapa had no choice but to defend. Eventually, the result turned in Lynch’s favor, as he was the much better boxer in the contest.