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Shiva Thapa, Sumit Sangwan strike gold in Astana

Teenage boxers from India, Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg) won gold in their respective categories at the Asian Olympic qualifying event here on Thursday, a day after they made the cut for the London Olympic Games.

Shiva (18) defeated 2010 Asian Games bronze medallist Wessam Salamana of Syria while Sumit overpowered another bronze medal winner of the Guangzhou Games, Jakhon Qurbanov of Tajikistan. Shiva, who beat Athens Olympics silver medallist Worapoj Petchkoon of Thailand earlier in the competition, was brimming with confidence with his Olympic spot secured. He started slowly against the fast paced Syria boxer, but came back with his counter attacks, taking a slender one point lead after the opening round (5:4).

The 2010 Youth Olympic silver medallist displayed some great hand eye coordination and timing — his left hand jab proving to be the potent weapon.

Shiva had a three point advantage (10:7) going into the final round, which prompted Salamana to go all out. But the Indian was up to the challenge -- he was firm with his defence and accurate with his counter attacks. He went on to take the title with a total score of 18:11.

Sangwan (19) who was up against a very experienced boxer played out a brilliant bout with a good combination of offence and defence. It was a methodical start by the Indian, trying to find his range.

There was not much separating the two boxers with only a point difference between them after the opening three minutes (2:1). Both threw some good punches and yielded five points each in the second round. In the final round however, Sangwan took the game away from Qurbanov winning 14:9. 

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