India’s Shiva Thapa off to fiery start in Commonwealth Games

Asian star Shiva Thapa of India came through with a victorious debut in the 2022 Commonwealth Games after thrashing Suleman Baloch of Pakistan, 5-0, in the light welterweight (63.5kg) division on the opening day of boxing competition in Birmingham, England.

The 28-year-old Thapa, who made history by winning five straight medals in the ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships from 2013 to 2021, used his fleet footwork and pinpoint counterpunching to dominate the multiple Pakistani national winner.

The 2013 Asian champion and two-time Olympian advanced to the round of 16 and expressed his eagerness to punch his way to a first gold in the quadrennial event pitting athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations.

“I have done the first big step last month when I defeated my main local rival, Manish Kaushik, to be here in this wonderful Commonwealth Games. I am expecting that I will have four more fights in Birmingham therefore I tried to be smarter than my Pakistani opponent,” said Thapa after giving a stellar start for India’s 12-strong men’s team that also boasts of other stars and gold medal favorites.

“He is strong and I was planning to avoid any injuries in this fight as the Games will be long for me. I am here to get the gold medal of this weight class, definitely this is my target,” the 2015 AIBA World Championships bronze finisher added.

Besides India and Pakistan, the other Asian nations competing in the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games are Bangladesh, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

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