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Seedings, byes but tough draws for Indians at World Ch'ship

By Poonam Mehra

Hamburg, Aug 25 (PTI) Shiva Thapa and Vikas Krishan were handed opening-round byes and seedings but the going will not be easy for the Indian boxers, all of whom have got tough draws to deal with at the 19th World Championships here.

The 25-year-old Vikas is the best-ranked among the Indians, given the third seeding in the middleweight (75kg) category. Shiva has been seeded fifth in the lightweight (60kg) category while Sumit Sangwan (91kg) is ranked sixth in his weight category.

All three of them will be in action from the pre- quarterfinal stage.

However, the road to the podium won't be an easy one for any of the eight Indians, who will be competing in boxing's marquee event.

For Vikas, the bronze-medallist from the 2011 edition, it will be the winner of tonight's contest between Kenya's John Kyalo and England's Benjamin Whittaker in the last -16 stage on August 27.

Should he win that contest, fourth seed Kamran Shakhsuvarly of Azerbaijan awaits him in the pre-quarters. Shakhsuvarly is an Olympic bronze-medallist, besides being a European silver-winner.

Shiva, on the other hand, will open his campaign on August 28 against the winner of the clash between Kazakhstan's Adilet Kurmetov and Georgia's Otar Eranosyan.

If he wins his tournament-opener, the 24-year-old Asian Championships silver-medallist will, in all likelihood, be up against the man who beat him to the gold -- fourth seed Elnur Abuduraimov of Uzbekistan. Shiva had won a world championship bronze in the 2015 edition.

Shiva and Abuduraimov's clash in the Asian Championship final had not gone the full distance and the Indian had lost in a split verdict after a head butt from his rival left him bleeding.

Another Asian Championship silver-medallist Sumit will start with a contest against Australia's Jason Whateley on August 27 and a win in that fight is likely to set him up against Kazakhstan's Olympic silver-medallist Vassiliy Levit. The third-seeded Levit had beaten Sumit just a few months back in the final of the Asian Championships in Tashkent.

The seasoned Manoj Kumar (69kg) will begin his campaign against Moldova's Vasilii Belous before squaring off against fourth-seeded Venezuelan Gabriel Jose Maestre Perez on the evening of August 28.

Perez is a Pan American Games gold-medallist but the 31- year-old Manoj has shown the ability to push fancied opponents throughout his career.

Also starting tomorrow are Asian Games bronze-medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg) and Kavinder Bisht (52kg).

Satish will be up against Azerbaijan's Mahammadrasul Majidov, while Kavinder will have Japan's Ryusei Baba as his opponent.

Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) and Asian Championships' bronze- medallist Amit Phangal (49kg) will be opening the day for India in the evening session late tonight.

Gaurav will face Australia's Sam Goodman, while Amit will go up against Italy's Federico Serra

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