The final day of competition at the 8th Junior Women’s National Boxing Championship, presented by Monnet Ispat and Energy Limited, in Patiala, Punjab and it was a riveting performance by the young glove women of India for the illustrious ‘Junior National’ title. After four days of heavy competition the Haryana and Punjab state teams emerged as the top contenders for the title. While six of Haryana boxers made it to the finals, Punjab was not far behind with five of its pugilists qualifying for the championship round. In the end though, the boxing power house state of Haryana reclaimed the Junior National top honours with five gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals. Hosts Punjab came in a close second and had to settle for the runners’ up trophy once again with four gold medals, one silver medal and three bronze medals.
2011 Youth World Championship bronze medallist Poonam (64kg) along with Priya (54kg), Munesh (57kg), Deeksha (69kg) and Diksha (81kg) capped off a brilliant performance for Haryana winning the yellow metal in their respective weight category. The defending champions did not have the best of the starts although. Neelam Saini, a bronze medallist at recently concluded ‘Golden Glove of Vojvodina’ an open international youth boxing tournament in Serbia, lost out to cheaply to Shivender Kaur of Punjab. Kuar, the reigning Youth National Champion, with her accurate and hard hitting left and right jabs proved to be the superior boxer. After an even first round (2-2), the Haryana girl failed to keep pace with Kaur. She lost the fly weight finals on points 8-15. The setback however, did little to impede the team’s winning streak.
In the championship round of the light welter weight division, Poonam was at her menacing best as she devoured Simranjit Kaur of Punjab in scintillating display of high powered boxing. The current Youth National and former Junior National Champion dominated the game from start to finish, not allowing Kaur to settle down. She won her fourth Junior National gold with a comprehensive 26-9 victory.
In stark contrast to her teammate Priya, a gold medallist from ‘Golden Glove of Vojvodina’, had to work really hard against some inspiring boxing from Lalruatfeli of Mizoram. The 18 year old was down 2 points after the first two rounds, but came back strongly in the third to level the game and take the lead (14-13) – her three punch combination working like a charm. With just one point separating the fighters and with neither ready to let up, it was anyone’s game. After an intense two minutes of action, in which both notched 7 points apiece, it was Priya who triumphed with an overall score of 21-20.
The biggest upset of the Championship came in the form of current Junior World Champion Lalenkawli of Mizoram. Lalenkawli who made history in Antalya, Turkey last year, winning the Junior World Champion title, failed to recapture the light fly Junior National gold against Pooja Tokas of Delhi. Tokas, a former Junior National Champion, came out all guns blazing and took the early advantage with a 3 point lead after the opening round. Her aggressive power play took the Mizoram boxer with surprise and put her on the back foot. In the second round as well, the Delhi girl continued with her destructive strategy and managed to open up a six point gap. With the start of the third round Lalenkawli finally managed to gather her wits, but by then it was too late. She won the last two rounds (4-3, 4-3), but lost the bout. Pooja went on to win her third Junior National crown by virtue of points 16-12. Her accomplishment over the Junior World Champion allowed Delhi to bag the overall third place finish.
Kindly visit the IABF official website www.indiaboxing.in for Championship results.