CWG: Six Indians in boxing finals, three settle for bronze

The fast-rising trio of Amit Panghal, Gaurav Solanki and Manish Kaushik notched up contrasting victories to enter the finals in the Commonwealth Games boxing competition.

Naman Tanwar fights Australia's Jason Whateley (L) during their men's 91kg semifinal boxing match.   -  AFP

Asian Games medallists Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) were among the six Indian boxers who entered the finals today, while three others settled for bronze medals in what is turning out to be India’s best ever performance inside the ring at the Commonwealth Games.

Joining Vikas and Satish in the finals was the fast-rising trio of Amit Panghal (49kg), Gaurav Solanki (52kg) and Manish kaushik (60kg). But teenager Naman Tanwar (91kg), former CWG gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (69kg) and Mohammed Husammuddin (56kg) had to be content with bronze medals.  India will also have M.C. Mary Kom going for the gold medal in the women’s 48kg category, against Northern Ireland’s Kristina O’Hara, starting 7.32 a.m. on Saturday.

“I am very happy with what we have achieved. It is an unprecedented performance and the challenge now is to ensure that each one of the finalists get gold medals. It is challenging but I am confident that we will do it,” India’s High Performance Director Santiago Nieva told PTI at the end of the day’s proceedings.

Among the third-place finishers, Husammuddin lost 0-5 to Peter McGrail of England, Manoj was beaten by England’s Pat McCormack, while the 19-year-old Naman bowed out to local favourite Jason Whateley in an exciting contest to sign off with the biggest medal of his nascent career so far.

As for the winners, Satish’s victory was the most awe-inspiring as the Indian’s thrashing of Seychelles Keddy Agnes forced his team to throw in the towel in the first round at the Oxenford Studios here.

Vikas, on the other hand, defeated Steven Donnelly of Northern Ireland by a 5-0 margin.

Earlier, Manish edged past Northern Ireland’s James McGivern in a closely-contested bout to emerge 4-1 victorious.

The 22-year-old, who claimed a gold medal at the Asian Games test event, was at the receiving end of some clean hitting by McGivern but pulled off just enough to get the judges’ nod.

“I will be fighting the Aussie (Harry Garside who has qualified for the final). Coach has told me focus on my opponent’s mistakes and deliver,” he said after the bout.

His opponent today, meanwhile, seemed livid at the decision.

“The bronze medal can stay in Australia, I don’t do bronze medals,” McGivern said after leaving the ring.

In the flyweight 52kg category, Gaurav got the better of Sri Lanka’s M Ishan Bandara, overcoming a sluggish start, which included being at the receiving end of two eight counts in the first round itself.

“Sometimes in boxing these things happen, but by the second round I felt much more in control,” he said.

“I have a good team behind me and now I’m preparing to take the gold,” said the Games debutant, who will square off Northern Ireland’s Brendan Irvine in the summit clash.

In contrast, Amit had an easy outing against Uganda’s Juma Miiro, completely dominating the light flyweight 49kg semifinal.

“It was very comfortable for me. I used my left a lot as it is my strongest punch,” he said.

The BFI president Ajay Singh was elated at India's performance. "This is India's best performance in Commonwealth Games. We have never won nine medals. We have never won more than one gold outside India. So I am very pleased with what our boxers have achieved. We are on track as we work towards our goal of becoming a leading boxing nation of the world.

"I am very happy with how our young boxers have performed. Even those who lost put up very good performances. We have a great blend of youth and experience and the future of Indian boxing looks bright," Singh said.

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