Asian Games silver medallist V Santosh Kumar (64kg) continued his winning spree as he won the gold at the 21st President’s Cup International Boxing Tournament in Jakarta, Indonesia on Friday, beating Malinin Alexander of Russia. It was a great achievement for the 19 year old considering his last tournament was the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, where he bagged the silver medal. But the day didn’t turn out as planned for Lakhbir Singh (69kg) and Jasveer Singh (81kg) who had to be content with a bronze medal finish as they lost their respective semi-final bouts. 18-year-old Gaurav Bidhuri faced defeat in the penultimate round earlier in the tournament to Ian Clark Bautista of Philippines taking the tally of medals for India to four with one gold and three bronze.
Santosh made a place in the final of the light welter weight division defeating Masatsugu Kawachi of Japan in the semi-finals. In the tittle clash a hectic battle ensued between the reigning national champion and the Russian boxer – Santosh was down a point after the opening round. But the Indian came back in the second, taking advantage of his height, to level the scores and take a crucial point lead. In the end, it was the skill and tactics of Santosh that came through as he went on to clinch the yellow metal with a 10:8 victory on points. “I am very happy with my performance; it was more of a mental victory as our strategy worked like a charm. The sound advice of my coach helped me a great deal to understand my opponent better”, expressed an elated Santosh after his medal winning performance.
The evening session of play on Thursday was bit of a dampener for the Indian contingent as both the Indian boxers came up short in their semi-final bouts. Lakhbir Singh had marched into the last four welter weight category, trouncing Truong Dinh Hong of Vietnam with a knockout punch in the pre-quarters and with a resounding victory over Lee Dong Keun of Korea in the quarter-finals. But the 23 year old could not get past the hardy Russian boxer, Alexander Kunkov in the semis. The Russian had the upper hand and kept building on his lead throughout the nine minutes of play. Lakhbir had to settle with a bronze medal performance after a 7:13 defeat on points. But the for the Punjab boxer it was satisfactory performance considering this was his second international tournament. “It was a difficult fight for me as the Russian boxer was strong and had a sound technique. But it is a positive result and I am confident of doing better in the future.”
In the light heavyweight division Jasveer had upset Olympian boxer Mohammad Shourain of Iran to make a place in the last four of his weight section. In the semi-final though, Commonwealth Games quarter finalist Australian Damien Hooper, proved to be too strong for Jasveer. The score was knotted at 1 all after the first round, but the Australian took the game away from the two time national champion in the second and third. Jasveer lost the bout 6:12 and had to settle for a bronze medal.