Eight Indian boxers assured India of medals by entering the semi-finals at the 38th GeeBee Tournament 2019 in Helsinki, Finland on Friday.
Former Asian Championship gold medallist Assam boy Shiva Thapa led the march with a commanding 5-0 win over Poland’s Dominik Palak in 60kg after receiving an opening round bye. Up next for the former World Championships bronze medallist is Russia’s Mikhail Varlamov in his quest for a gold medal.
Also making the semi-finals was former youth champion Sachin Siwach in 52kg. The 20-year-old rising pugilist emerged a 4-1 winner over Russia’s Tamir Galanov to set up a semi-final showdown with Kyrgyzstan’s Azat Usenaliev.
India had four more winners on Day 2 of this tournament as 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg), Kavinder Singh Bisht (56kg), Dinesh Dagar (69kg), and Naveen Kumar (+91kg) all made the last-four stage.
The bantamweight specialist Hussamuddin produced an impeccable form to knock out Russia’s Ovik Ogannisian 5-0 in a stunning display. Bisht, also in the 56kg category, prevailed over Almanbet Alibekov 5-0 to enter the semis as well.
In 69kg, Dinesh Dagar continued his impressive run a day after scoring a huge upset win over former Olympic bronze medallist Evaldas Petrauskas. In yet another hard-fought contest, last year’s India Open silver medallist produced a gritty 3-2 win over local hope Aydin Behruz.
In the Super Heavyweight category, Naveen Kumar was a flawless 5-0 winner over local favourite in Antti Lehmusvirpi.
The campaign, however, came to an end for Prayag Chauhan (75kg) and Sanjay (81kg), who lost to Russia’s Vadim Tukov and Holland’s Peter Mullenberg in their respective quarter-final bouts.
Besides these six boxers, India is already confirmed of two more medals by virtue of 2017 Asian Championships silver medallist Sumit Sangwan (91kg) and Govind Kumar Sahani (49kg) reaching the semi-finals due to a smaller field in their respective weight categories.