Former Sub-Junior National Champion Prayag Chauhan (60kg) capped off a brilliant performance at the ASBC Asian Confederation Junior Boxing Championships in Kazakhstan, with a scintillating display in the final day of competition on Sunday (21 Apr 2013). The 16 year old boxer from Delhi continued his winning spree as he comprehensively beat Azat Ilyubayev of Kazakhstan to bag the junior light weight continental title. The victory was doubly sweet for the Indian camp as it helped the team bag the third position in the overall team rankings. The Indian boxers finished the Asian meet with one gold medal and three bronze medals.
Chauhan, who made his place in the finals after overpowering Kyrgyzstan's Ruslan Ernis Ulu, was once again up to the task. The teen boxer plying his first major international tournament – a training-cum-competition tour in Yangibad, Uzbekistan in October 2012 being his first international outing – displayed great maturity and understanding of the game. Together with his nimble mind, agile footwork and his brisk counter attacks, Chauhan makes for a lethal combination, one that can send the toughest of opponents packing. On the day of the finals too, the most experienced boxer from India was seen in top form. Playing against Ilyubayev, a local boxer, Prayag was not once deterred by the strong home support. He started steadily not giving too much away. But soon gathered pace with his accurate counter jabs and hooks and took the game away from the Kazak boxer. In the end he won the gold medal in the light weight division with a unanimous decision by points.
Earlier in the tournament Vishnu Dayanand Chayal (57kg) – who beat Ahmed Lal Shamsi of U.A.E by a technical knockout in round 2 of his quarter-final bout – had to settle for a bronze medal finish in the end. Chayal, a two time former sub junior national champion, came up short against Rashidov Muzaffar of Uzbekistan in the semis. Reigning sub-junior national champion Aditya Maan (66kg) also had to be content with a bronze medal performance from the Asian Championships. The 15 Year old boxer from J&K also went down to an Uzbek boxer; he lost to Merjanev Eldar on a unanimous decision by points in the round of four. Bronze medallist at the 28th Sub-Junior National Boxing Championship Pradeep (63kg) also ended the tournament with third position on the podium. He lost to Stolbovskiy Vladislav of Kazakhstan in the semi-finals, after getting a bye in the round of eight.
Chief National Coach of the Junior/Sub-Junior Men’s boxing team MS Dhaka was pleased with the Indian boxers finishing third in the championship, but expressed that he was expecting at least a couple of gold medals from his lads. Coach Dhaka also mentioned that he had absolute faith in Prayag’s abilities and was sure that the Delhi boxer would return with a medal. He said, “I was quite confident of him doing well at the Asian Championships, he was a big medal prospect going into the tournament. Prayag is talented and a hard working lad; during our preparation at the national coaching camp in Sonepat, he had shown great focus and determination”. Chauhan took to the sport at an early age of 7 in 2004 and has competed in high number of domestic championships and tournaments. He started his professional training in 2007 at the SAI centre in the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium under the wings of veteran coach Shri SR Singh. Chauhan soon started making appearances in the sub-junior national rings and finally got selected in the national camp in 2011, after bagging the gold medal in the Sub-Junior National Boxing Championships that year. His coaches believe his ability to judge his opponent and his fierce counter attacks are what make him a good boxer. Chauhan has shown great promise and potential to go the distance in the sport and is certainly one to look out for in the future. The 16 year old is bound to pose a threat to his opponents in the upcoming AIBA Junior World Boxing Championships in August this year.