Having lived with the disappointment of missing out on his second consecutive Olympics in Tokyo last year, the former Asian champion was far superior to his bigger and more aggressive rival to emerge 5-0 winner in his category of light welterweights.
The judges’ decision was unanimous at the NEC Arena.
.@shivathapa goes R16🥊The former Asiad gold medalist kicks off his #CWG2022 campaign with a… https://t.co/Q0HxAmvIyn
— Boxing Federation (@BFI_official) 1659095004000
The 28-year-old, who was eliminated in the preliminary quarters of Glasgow 2014 in his only CWG appearance before those Games, will next face Scotsman Reese Lynch in the Round of 16 on Sunday.
This also launched India’s campaign in the boxing ring, where they have exciting prospects with reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen, Olympic medalist Lovlina Borgohain and world championship silver medalist Amit Panghal.
India would be looking to eclipse their Gold Coast record with three gold, three silver and three bronze.
From the heights of the bronze medal at the World Championships in 2015 to the debacle of the Rio Olympics in 2016, followed by his failure at the Tokyo Games, boxer Guwahati’s life has gone through a complete cycle.
His current season has also started on a disappointing note, having made a quarter-final exit at the World Championships in Belgrade, while at the prestigious Strandja he has returned fewer medals, but Thapa is determined to win his first medal. CWG.
“Certainly that – a CWG medal – motivates me a lot. It’s a very individual thing, sometimes the pressure works and then you have the responsibility,” Thapa said after his win.
“We are all elite athletes here, representing our country. Everyone is hoping to win a gold medal here,” added the five-time Asian Championships medalist.
Nimble-footed Thapa was at his best reckoning against his Pakistani opponent who started off aggressively, exploiting his size to the fullest.
A nimble Thapa made sure his opponent had a few misses up front to tire him out before going for the kill, bringing all his experience to play from round two onwards.
He landed a few quick jabs as the Pakistani lost control for a split second in the remaining minutes, and there was no way out for Thapa.
“It was about holding our defense well. We didn’t want to go for the aggressive hooks and the upper cut up front,” said India coach Narender Rana, who helped Thapa in his formative years at the club. ‘Army Sports Institute Pune.
“Preventing injury was the main thing on our agenda. He still has a long way to go here – four more fights to be precise,” he summed up the gold medal ambition of Thapa at the CWG in progress.