India assured of at least six medals in boxing

India is assured of at least six medals in boxing at the XXI Commonwealth Games.

Amit Panghal fights during a match in Commonwealth Games 2018. (file photo)   -  AFP

India is assured of at least six medals in boxing at the XXI Commonwealth Games.

And, with three more pugilists – Vikas Krishan (men’s 75kg), Sarita Devi and Pinki Rani (women’s 60kg and 51kg) – to fight the quarterfinal in their weight categories on Wednesday, the expectations now could be really be sky high.

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The good turn for the country on Tuesday, at the Oxenford studio ring here, was sealed together by all the five Indians seen in action and their progress into the semifinals, to join M.C. Mary Kom, who had made the grade on Sunday. It was truly a performance of class and should now provide greater motivation to the whole of the Indian contingent, across disciplines, to put their best foot forward.

The action of the day, spread across the morning and afternoon sessions, was not without its own share of drama as the fights in at least two categories were quite close and all those supporters, who stood rock solid behind the young boxers, were left in suspense until finally the verdict did come out.

It was Amit Panghal, who set the ball rolling by winning his 48kg quarterfinal bout against Aqeel Ahmed (Scotland). It was one of those tight contests as the Scottish boxer seemed to have gained a bit of a upper hand by the end of the first round. It continued to be tense through the next two rounds as well, but Amit was quick to gain ascendancy through the latter part of the match with quick counter attacks, backed with a solid array of punches and jabs. Yet, there was a lot wait before the Indian gained a split decision.

Naman Tanwar who followed to meet Frank Masoe (Samoa) had no such worries.

The 19-year-old despite fighting in one of the heavier categories (91kg) was quick on his feet and had his rival run for cover before gaining a unanimous points decision. The Samoan was forced to a mandatory standing count in the third and as such the writing was very much on the wall. Equally comfortable was the win eked out by Hussamuddin Mohammed, fighting from the blue corner, against Everisto Mulenga (Zambia) in the 56kg division.

In the 69kg class, Manoj Kumar was expected to have it tough, having drawn against Australian Terry Nickolas.

The crowd as expected was well behind the local boxer, but Manoj hardly gave anything away at any time of the bout. He ran his rival close and attacked brilliantly to keep Nickolas slightly subdued, before gaining a split decision.

Having won four out of four, the question that did the rounds was whether Satish Kumar would be able to make a clean sweep. The +91kg fighter did just that, though it did surprise that he only got a split decision after having full control over the bout and his rival Paul Nigel (Trinidad & Tobago).

Mary Kom will be back in action on Wednesday taking on Sri Lankan Anusha Diruskshi in the first semifinal of the women’s 48kg category.