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Favourites sail on opening day of Boxing Nationals

July 10, 2010 21:55 IST

Asian Youth silver medalist Devendro Singh sensationally out-classed his rival within the first three minutes of his bout while former Commonwealth champion Sunil Kumar toiled hard for his opening win in the 57th Senior Men's National Boxing Championships in New Delhi.

Sunil came back from 0-3 down to pull off a 6-3 triumph over Bahadur Singh of Uttarakhand, who frustrated the Haryana boxer by keeping a tight guard for almost half the bout before being outwitted in the closing stages.

The 18-year-old Devendro, on the other hand, made a blink and you miss appearance as he outclassed Pondicherry's Mathan Kumar under three minutes.

The Manipuri teen, who idolises state-mate and former world youth champion Thokchom Nanao Singh, led 3-0 before landing the decisive right hook that left his opponent dazed and the referee convinced that Devendro was just too good for his rival in the blue corner.

"I enjoy playing at the senior level and take inspiration from Nanao who is also my room-mate at the Army Sports Institute in Pune," said Devendro, who came into the event with his confidence sky high after winning a gold medal in the National Youth Championships in Chennai, last month.

Well aware that a medal here could help him get into the core group of boxers for the Commonwealth Games, Devendro said he was aiming to cause some upsets in a competitive category.

"I am confident of taking down the senior guys. I think I have the ability," he said.

It was smooth sailing for the other favourites as well on a day which featured just 12 bouts and that too only in the light fly weight 49 kg category.

Prominent among them was reigning Commonwealth champion Amandeep Singh of the Railways Sports Promotion Board, who hardly broke a sweat to clinch it 7-0 against Tripura's Manoj Kumar.

Former World Cadet champion Vipin Kumar, who had faded into oblivion after a fracture in his left hand, won 7-3 against Kripa Shakar of Madhya Pradesh. Vipin is representing the Uttar Pradesh state team.

"The fracture just ruined everything for me. This Championship would give me a chance to resurrect my career. I hope I can prove my worth," the boxer, who didn't just win a gold at the World Cadet Championship of 2007 but was also named the Best Boxer of the event, said.

Among others, Himachal Pradesh's Baljinder won 5-4 against Assam's Bikas in a hard-fought bout.

Services Sports Control Board's Sanjay Kolte, a former international medallist, out-classed Gujarat's Patra Pratap.

More than 250 boxers are competing in the event, where participation is compulsory except for those who are medically unfit.

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