India boxer Shiva Thapa beat Pakistan's seven-time national champion Suleman Baloch 5-0 in the 63.5kg light welterweight round of 32 on Friday at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.
The boxers entered the ring at the National Exhibition Centre in Solihull amid cheer and loud music that set the tone for the fight. The Indian was tactical in his moves and landed the punches at the opportune moment to emerge as the smarter pugilist in the ring.
The seasoned Shiva Thapa had a laid-back elegance to his defence, and his feet moved quickly to tire out the opponent. The heavy-duty Baloch looked to play the attacking game but could not break through the athletic-built of Thapa. The Indian maintained a shield throughout the course of the game that blocked Baloch’s entry point.
The boxers had a pale shade of blood on their faces while they sat for the timeout. They started landing heavy punches as the fight extended to the second round. The 28-year-old Thapa brought all his experience into play to earn points with quick jabs as the Pakistani lost control for a split second in the remaining minutes.
Baloch ran out of gas and eventually had to surrender to Thapa, but he fought tooth-and-nail to add spice to the contest.
Shiva Thapa will now face Scotland’s Reese Lynch, a world championship bronze medallist from last year, in the round of 16 on Saturday.
Five-time Asian championships medallist and a world bronze medal winner, Shiva Thapa is competing in his second Commonwealth Games. Thapa previously contested at the Glasgow 2014 edition where he received a bye in the first round and lost in the second.