India got its act together late in the championship but that was still good enough for them to grab top honours in the Goa International Boxing Championship, organised by Goa Amateur Boxing Championship, at Colva.
The Indian pugilists did extremely well to upset the calculations of favourites The Phillipines and Hungary, notching some unexpected victories.
S Suresh Kumar (flyweight), Harpreet Singh (Light-heavyweight), V Johnson (heavyweight, Parvinder Singh (middleweight), Vijender (light-welterweight), Harpal Singh (heavyweight) and Jai Bhagwan Singh (lightweight), scored convincing victories to snatch the honours.
"I am more than just happy," India chief coach Gurucharan Singh Sandh told reporters after conclusion of the championship. "I had initially said we would settle for 3-4 gold medals but 7 gold medals are incredible. The Indian boxers have shown promise and look good enough for more international honours," Sandhu said, adding that the Afro-Asian Game camp would help further hone their skills.
With seven gold medals and an incredible 47 points in its kitty, India emerged champions in the Goa International while high-flying the Phillipines, grudgingly, had to settle for the runners-up slot. Hungary finished third with 11 points.
Harry Tanamor was voted the best boxer of the championship while Hungary's Szello Imre was the best loser. In a fitting tribute to his glorious performance, India's Bijender Singh was named the most promising boxer of the championship.
In the first bout of the evening, Federation Cup best boxer Suranjoy Singh came all guns blazing but despite an inspired performance went down fighting to Harry Tanamor of the Phillipines, a bronze medallist at the World Cup and silver medallist at the Busan Asian Games.
Against Tanamor, Suranjoy was in an aggressive mood but towards the closing stages, Tanamor sized up his opponent to a nicety dodging punches and throwing his own hits to maintain the slender five-points lead.
S Suresh was easily the pick of the lot as he converted a losing bout into a winning one. Pitted against Parrenas Arlfo, rated highly in his country and under preparation for the forthcoming Olympics, Suresh Kumar showed how the Philippines challenge could be discounted with some gritty display and clever combinations.
India's heavyweight champion V Johnson danced and weaved his way around the ring to finish-off Ahmed Zia of Afghanistan in the second round itself. Johnson, a bronze
medallist at the Commonwealth championships and undefeated for the past three years in India, showed exemplary footwork and, of course, the lethal punch.
India's Parvinder Singh used his reach advantage to good effect. Keeping Hungary's Szello Imre at bay, at the start, Parvinder got his act together in the second round to floor the Hungarian. Both were moving together in the third round but in the final one, Parviner galvanised all his resources to create a major upset.
Harpreet Singh made everyone sit and take notice of his exceptional talent when he accounted for the prized scalp of Hungary's Sydney Olympian Istvan Szucs in the light-heavy category. Going into the final round, both were tied at 10-10. However, egged on by the vociferous crowd, Harpreet surprised the Hungarian with intimidating left-hooks that more often than not got connected.
In the final round, Harpreet collected four crucial points that tilted the balance in his favour.
However, it was talented Haryana lad Vijender who was the cynosure of all eyes after he outscored F Lournic of the Philippines in the third round. Vijender, on whom Sandhu has high hopes, put to good use the butterfly style where he scored points -- whenever there was an opportunity -- and frustrated his opponent by dancing around. By the third round, Vijender was leading 28-8, forcing the referee to stop the contest.
The Philippines, Hungary, Qatar and Afghanistan will now proceed to Karachi for the Green Hill Boxing Championship, starting October 7.
The Indian contigent, along with the coach G S Sandhu, will travel to Pune to join their teammates for the Afro-Asian Games coaching camp cum selection trials.
Exhibition bouts by women of the Tamil Nadu Boxing Association and Goa Amateur Boxing Association were held. Tamil Nadu's G. Praveen, a sliver medallist at the Hyderabad National Games took on the might of South Zone champion Vimal Naik while Tamil Nadu's G. Saraswathi, bronze medallist at the Delhi National Games, locked horns with National champion Vellanky Dumaskar.
Buddy D'Souza, India's first Arjuna awardee was the chief guest for the finals.
Light-fly: Harry Tanamor (Philippines) bt Suranjoy Singh (India-Red) 34-28
Heavyweight: V Johnson (India-Red) bt Ahmed Zia (Afghanistan) RSC
Flyweight: S Suresh Kumar (India-Red) bt Parrenas Arlfo (Philippines) 22-14
Lightweight: Jai Bhagwan Singh (India-Red) bt Ranjit Singh (India-Blue) 23-5
Middleweight: Parvinder Singh (India-Red) bt Szello Imre (Hungary) 21-14
Bantamweight: Lerio Arlan (Philippines) bt Bijender Singh (India-Red) 29-23
Welterweight: Balog Wilmos (Hungary) bt V Lavi (India-Green) RSC
Featherweight: Junard Ladon (Philippines) Naveen Dev (India-Blue) RSC
Light-heavy: Harpreet Singh (India-Red) bt Istvan Szucs (Hungary) 14-10
Super-heavy: Harpal Singh (India-Red) bt Jitendra K Singh (India-Blue) RSC
Light-welter: Vijender (India-Red) bt F Lournic (Phillipines) RSC