Indians get into WSB: Shiva Thapa, Sumit Sangwan sign up for Team USA
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At the National Camp at NIS, Patiala, boxers Shiva Thapa and Sumit Sangwan would often talk about the World Series of Boxing , a semi-professional league started by the AIBA in 2010, with their team-mates Akhil Kumar and Mandeep Jangra — boxers who were part of the Mumbai Tigers franchise in the WSB in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Chances for Indian boxers to take part in the WSB took a hit when the Mumbai franchise pulled out after the end of 2011.
Almost two years later, Thapa, the reigning Asian champion, and Sangwan, a quarterfinalist at the World Championships, have been offered contracts for the Team USA Knockouts to play in the 56 kg and 81 kg categories respectively, for the rest of the season.
With the Indian Boxing Federation being banned by the AIBA, it was their management firm, Angelican Medal Hunt Company, which forwarded their names to WSB manager Mariana Caballero. The boxers received the contracts last week.
Thapa, who became the Asian Champion earlier this year and also reached the quarter-finals in the World Championship held in October in Kazakhstan, was eagerly waiting for this chance.
big step up
"It's a opportunity which we have been thinking about for the last two years. Not having a home team in WSB did hurt our chances but we are happy that a chance has come our way. The USA Knockouts team has still five matches to go in the season," Thapa said. "We have started weight training accordingly, since WSB sees five rounds of boxing. The sparring and boxing rounds have been doubled."
The USA knockouts are currently placed in Group A along with Algeria, Argentina, Germany, Italy and Ukraine, and have three boxers, Steven Fulton, Castelon Martinez and Edwin Sandowal, all of USA, in the 56 kg category and two boxers, Osmar Bravo of Nicargua and Geremias Torres of USA, in the 81 kg category.