Indian armyman V Johnson created a sensation in the small town of Debrecen in Hungary when he defeated Athens Olympics bronze medallist Ahmad Wattar of Syria in semi-finals of the plus-91 kg category, at the Senior Men's International Boxing Tournament, held from January 31 to February 5.
The Indian contingent, comprising 11 boxers, returned with one silver (V Johnson) and two bronze medals (Paramjeet Singh -- 48 kg and Vijender -- 69 kg) from the tournament, which 130 boxers representing 18 countries participating.
Johnson was the most impressive boxer in the Indian squad as he defeated Fazekhs Otto of Hungary on points 23:8 in the preliminary round and Steven Rudic of Australia 23:13 in the quarter-finals.
His semi-final bout against Ahmed Wattar of Syria was an opportunity to avenge his quarter-final defeat by the same opponent at the Asian Games Busan in 2002. This time Johnson was mentally prepared to settle old scores and he did it convincingly.
In the 48 kg category, Paramjeet Singh, who is also from the Indian army, was very impressive in his run-up to the semi-finals as he demolished Farhat Felivan of Turkey 12:09 and Romesh Fernando of Australia 20:15. However, Bedak Pal of Hungary, a silver medallist at the World Championships, was too strong for him in the semi-finals and defeated him 31:07.
Railwayman Vijender had a dream run as he knocked out Borna Katalinic of Croatia in the preliminary round and outscored his opponent, Szilistvan by RSC (OS). But he was stopped by David Kubicek of Hungary, losing 9:24 in the semi-finals.