|Shiva Thapa (right) in action during the 2012 London Olympics|
With just a week to go ahead of the Asiad test, the World No 3 revealed that they have had a big shift in their training regime. “We are concentrating on speed training. The quality is much higher. The duration of sparring and bouts have been shortened. We time our fights according to competition rules. The entire session has been fast-paced,” Shiva explained.
From clinching a silver medal in the Youth Olympics (2010) to graduating into the youngest pugilist to represent India in the London Olympics, the 20-year-old has built up a solid reputation. Last year in July, Shiva became the youngest Indian to bag gold at the Asian Boxing Championship at Amman, Jordan. Whenever there is an international event, many consider him to be a medal prospect but Shiva is not daunted by the expectations. “I know it can go against me. But I feel the fans have those expectation because they believe I can fulfill it. They have given me so much love. I’m fortunate to represent them and the country,” Shiva said.
Despite his impressive rise, the pugnacious fighter is not taking the Asian Games for granted. He is the top-ranked Asian but will be challenged by boxers from Kazakhstan, Japan and Mongolia. “Boxing is a combat sport where opponents can make you work really hard to get a win. A match can turn on its head in the last 10 seconds. A punch in the end could cost you the contest,” Shiva assessed.
After the headgear was banned, the boxers have had to make a few adjustments to their game. Shiva said it has its advantages and also concedes it can be quite dangerous. “The visibility without the headgear is much better. You can spot those dangerous hooks but the drawback is that you have a bigger chance of getting cuts because of head butts. One has to watch out for that,” he said.
In the last outing in Guangzhou, Indian boxers had bagged nine medals (2 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze).
Source: Indian Express