Up-and-coming Deepak Singh and Amit Panghal punched above their weight to stun Olympian L. Devendro Singh and Asian youth bronze medallist Shyam Kumar respectively to emerge as champions in the National boxing championship at the Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium, Sarusajai, here on Tuesday.
Twenty-year-old Deepak defeated Devendro 5-0 for the 52kg title, while 21-year-old Amit got the better of Shyam 4-1 for the 49kg crown in their maiden appearance at the elite event.
Amit had done his homework well against the taller Shyam and used his dodging skills to stay safe against his quick-punching opponent. In second and third rounds, Amit took advantage of Shyam's open guard and landed punches off counter-attacks to run away to glory.
“I boxed as per the plan prepared by my coach Anil Dhankar. Accordingly, I dodged and scored from counters,” said Amit, a former National youth silver medallist.
Devendro struggles with fitness
Deepak's victory was a combination of his good fighting skills and Devendro's distinct lack of fitness. Deepak launched a rapid-fire attack to fluster Devendro in the opening round. The Commonwealth Games silver medallist delivered some well-directed blows but Deepak had enough stamina to answer back.
The third round was a struggle for Devendro, who later admitted that fitness was an issue for him and he needed to work harder to get used to the new weight.
On his memorable win, Deepak, a B. Com student from Chandigarh and an All India University meet champion, said, “I had nerves initially, but I was confident because of my good training.” He was later adjudged the Best Boxer.
Two-time Olympian Manoj Kumar overcame a strong challenge from Duryodhan Singh of Services to record a 4-1 victory and bag his first 69kg gold medal.
Duryodhan showed a tight guard while resorting to his trademark hard-hitting game, but Manoj, a former Commonwealth Games gold medallist, used his powerful straight punches to break through the Services boxer's defence.
“I must admit that my opponent, who started boxing after his recruitment in the armed forces, gave a good show. I am happy with my first title in the welter weight and will continue in this category. I have to look ahead and prepare for the Tokyo Olympics,” said Manoj.
Thapa blanks Dahiya
World championship bronze medallists and local boy Shiva Thapa exhibited another magnificent performance to beat Ankush Dahiya 5-0 and win the 60kg gold medal in his first attempt.
The individual champions were given a cash prize of Rs 20,000 each. The silver medallists got Rs 12,000 and the bronze medallists bagged Rs 7,000 each.
Services, which claimed four gold, one silver and three bronze medals, took the team title. Railways, which had two gold, silver and bronze medals apiece, was second.
The results (finals):
49kg: Amit Panghal (Har) bt Shyam Kumar (RSPB) 4-1,
52kg: Deepak Singh (Chd) bt Devendro Singh (Man) 5-0;
56kg: Mohammad Hussamuddin (SSCB) bt Akshay (Har) 5-0,
60kg: Shiva Thapa (Asm) bt Ankush Dahiya (Har) 5-0,
64kg: Thomas Meitei (SSCB) bt Rohit (RSPB) 3-2,
69kg: Manoj Kumar (RSPB) bt Duryodhan Singh (SSCB) 4-1,
75kg: Jaideep (SSCB) bt Venhlimpuia (Miz) 5-0,
81kg: Manish Panwar (RSPB) bt Rahul (MP) 3-2,
91kg: Gaurav (MP) bt Virender Kumar (HP) 5-0,
+91kg: Satish Kumar (SSCB) bt Parveen Kumar (Har) 5-0.
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