shiva thapa
Can Shiva Thapa land a knockout punch in his opening bout itself? Pictured: India's Shiva Thapa (R) fights against Mexico's Oscar Valdez Fierro in their Men's Bantam (56kg) Round of 32 Bout 6 boxing match at ExCeL venue during the London 2012 Olympic GamesReuters

Indian boxers have had good starts in the Rio 2016 Olympics. While Vikas Krishan won his middleweight bout against America's Charles Conwell in a rather comfortable way, Manoj Kumar had to fight hard but ultimately prevailed against Evaldas Petrauskas of Lithuania in his light welterweight bout on Wednesday.

Two on two for the Indian pugilists as they entered the pre-quarters of the Olympics. The big question now remains is whether known face Shiva Thapa, the first boxer from India to qualify for the games, can make it to the the round of 16 as well.

Thapa, 22, got the toughest challenge in the games in the first round itself, which probably even he didn't see coming. He takes on Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana of Cuba in the round of 32 bantamweight category fight on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Cuban southpaw boxer had won the gold medal in the London Olympics 2012 in the flyweight boxing category and that says it all. Flashback six years and Ramirez had reigned supreme over the Indian in the Youth Olympics 2010 final. The challenge is definitely tough for Thapa but no doubt, the fight would be expected to bring the best out of him.

Thapa, a gold medal winner at the Asian Confederation Boxing Championship in Jordan in 2013, stayed confident before making his journey to Rio de Janeiro. "All I want to say is that I am ready. I know how the pressure is," the Indian boxer told News 18 recently in an interview.

"After London Olympics, I had four years with me and it was tremendous for me. I gained a lot of experience after the London Olympics. I have performed in many tournaments in this period and learnt a lot. World Championship bronze medal has built a lot of confidence in me. The silver medal at the Asian qualifiers also gave me a lot of boost," mentioned Thapa.

Men's bantamweight boxing: Shiva Thapa vs Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana is scheduled to start at 7:45 p.m. IST (3:15 p.m. BST, 10:15 a.m EST) on Aug. 11 at the RioCentro Pavilion 6.

Where to watch live

India: TV: Star Sports Network, DD National. Live streaming: Hotstar.

UK: TV: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four. Live streaming: BBC Red Button.

USA: TV: NBC Sports. Live streaming: NBC Olympics.

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