The penultimate round in the 28th Sub-Junior Men’s National Boxing Championship in Akola, Maharashtra and the young glove men of Indian Boxing exhibited tremendous skill and character as they inched closer to the title of the Sub-Junior National Champion. The current edition of the tournament, being organized by the Maharashtra Boxing Association, witnessed a staggering number of 482 boxers from 33 state and board teams contesting for the premier national title. The championship format, which has been divided into four categories - boys of age 15 & 16 years (Group A), 14 years (Group B), 13 years (Group C) and 12 years (Group D) – has 168 medals on stake in 42 weight categories spread over the above mentioned four age groups.
Bronze medallist at the 2011 Junior World Boxing Championships Sandeep Kumar, playing in the 60 kilogram weight category of the 15 & 16 year age group, continued to ride his purple patch as he beat Angad from Karnataka. His offensive play and hard hitting combinations proved to be too strong for the Karnataka boxer. By the end of the second round he already gained a six point advantage. Although Kumar eased off the pedal in the final round, he still managed to win 10:4 on points. In the finals he will he will take on Bittu Kanwal of Uttarakhand who got the better of Ashutosh Tiwari from MP. In the much awaited battle of the 52 kg weight, Mizoram boxer Laldinmawia contested against defending Champion, Vishnu of the Services team. Laldinmawia – a bronze medal winner at the 2010 International boxing tournament in Kazakhstan – was down a one point deficit after the first round. But he came back strongly in the second round; the 15 year olds nimble footwork and his relentless attacks proved too to be the undoing of Vishnu. In the end he powered through to the finals with a 12:9 victory.
Shyam Kumar Kakara of Andhra Pradesh, in the 48 kilogram weight division, hardly broke a sweat as he hammered Mansoor Ahamad in what was a one-sided affair. Kumar, a silver medallist at the recently concluded President’s Hayder Aliyev Cup Boxing Tournament in Azerbaijan, made his way into the finals with a thumping 17:3 win on points. In the title round he will go up against services boxer Bhimchand Singh. It was another easy outing forNaveen Kumar in the 54 kilogram weight. The silver winner at the 2011 Junior World Boxing Championships advanced into the final round of the tournament after Mohit Bisht of Maharashtra retired hurt in the very first round of their semi-final matchup. In the summit clash he is slated to take on Ngouba Meitei of Madhaya Pradesh.
In the 38 kg weight of the 14 year old group, Haryana lad, Suraj, continued his winning spree as he defeated Prakhar Kesrwani of Uttar Pradesh. The two time silver medallist at the sub-junior nationals dominated the bout with his crafty ring movement and some cracking jabs, to which Kesrwani had no answer. He won the bout on points 9:4. Suraj will look to get the better of Parv Pathania from Himachal Pradesh in the championship round and clinch his first sub-junior national gold. In 42 kilogram weight division of the 13 year old group Services boxer Akash Mangre was in sublime form as he made his way into the title round of the championship. The reigning sub-junior national champion comprehensively beat Pravin Ravi Das of Jharkhand 15:11 on points. In the 44 kg weight, gold medallist at last year’s sub-junior nationals, Alexander from the Services team devoured Yogesh Malvia of Madhaya Pradesh with consummate ease. He was leading 5-nil when the referee decided to stop the contest and hand victory to him. While Mangre will take on Karambir Bharti of Chandigarh in the title bout, Alexander will square off against Ariz Ahamd of Chhattisgarh.
The youngest members of the event, the 12 year old boys also put up a spirited performance looking to break onto the national circuit with a bang. B Rama Krishnan of Tamil Nadu and Vishal Kumar of Delhi engaged in hard fought duel in the opening bout of the day. After an intense see-saw battle and the regulation time of six minutes their scores were level at 7 apiece. In the end though it was the Tamil Nadu boxer, who came away with the win on individual judges score. In the finals of the 30 kilogram weight he will take on local lad Ajinkya Gaikwad who beat Aftab Haque of Assam in what was a one sided contest.