After a hectic five days of action at the Sub-Junior Men’s Nationals in Akola, Maharashtra – a tournament that saw a record number of 482 boxers from 33 state and board teams – the championship moved into its final phase, with the young bidding aspirants of Indian boxing gunning for the coveted national title. The Services boxers dominated proceedings on the canvas with a superlative display of high octane boxing. Out of the 14 pugilists that made it to the championship round, 12 were successfully able to triumph in the summit clash. The team bagged the winner trophy with 12 gold medals, 2 silver medals and 1 bronze medal – an extra ordinary feat, considering 15 of the 17 boxers that participated in the tournament ended up with medals to show for. Haryana was close on heels in the second spot with 9 gold medals, and 1 bronze medal.
In the 15 and 16 years old boys’ category, silver medal winner at the 2011 Junior World Boxing Championships, Naveen Kumar (54kg) of SSCB was in exceptional form as he took on Ngouba Meitei of Madhya Pradesh. The former Junior and Sub-Junior National Champion opened strongly with some cracking jabs and hard hitting body blows, not giving Meitei any chance to settle down. He was leading 11-2 in the second round when the referee decided to spare the MP boxer of any further agony and hand victory to
Kumar. Teammate L. Bhimchand Singh had a hard day at office, having to settle for a silver medal finish. The former Junior National Champion was engaged in a hard fought battle with Shyam Kumar Kakara of Andhra Pradesh, in the 48 kilogram weight division. After regulation time the scores were locked at 7 all. Kakara, a silver medallist at the recently concluded President’s Hayder Aliyev Cup Boxing Tournament in Azerbaijan, managed to scrape through on count-back. The second Indian boxer to win a medal at the 2011 Junior World Championship, Sandeep Kumar of Haryana also had to dig deep against Bittu Kanwal of Uttarakhand in the title clash of the 60 kilogram weight. There was not much separating the two fighters; both matched each other in skill and technique. In the end though, it was Kumar who triumphed on individual judges’ score to claim the yellow metal.
In the 54 kg weight of the 14 year old boys Pushkar Singh of the services team maintained his dominance at the sub-junior level drubbing Rahul Sharma of Orissa. Singh was in sublime touch and hardly broke a sweat on his way to winning a third consecutive gold medal. Haryana lad Suraj (38kg) continued to pulverize his opponents on the way to his first sub-junior national gold. The feisty boxer needed less than two rounds to get the better of Parv Pathania of Himachal Pradesh. He was leading 11-2 when the referee stopped the contest.
In the 13 year old boys section Alexander of the Services team put up a sterling performance as he hammered Ariz Ahamd of Chhattisgarh with a margin of 10 points (25-10), to win his second consecutive gold. Akash Mangre also of SSCB capped off a brilliant performance bagging the gold medal in the finals of the 42 kilogram weight. The reigning sub-junior national champion warded off a strong off comeback from Chandigarh boxer Karambir Bharti in the final round to win by virtue of points 7-4.
The Services team continued its powerful run in the 12 years age group as well, with Md Ikramvl Mansuri (32kg) and K Nathol Singh (34kg) both clinching the gold medal in their respective weight divisions. While Mansuri overpowered Suraj Soy of Jharkhand, Singh devoured Shadab Alam from West Bangal.