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Indian boxers charge into finals

By Sportsdesk
October 03, 2003 22:16 IST
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The four-team 31-member Indian contingent did well to have a boxer in each of the 11 weight categories in the Goa International Boxing Championships, organised by Goa Amateur Boxing Association, at Colva.

Five pugilists -- Naveen Dev, Vijender, V Lavi, Parvinder Singh and V Johnson -- joined the six Indian finalists, who had secured berths after yesterday's semi-finals.

However, with the Philippines and Hungary maintaining their cent per cent record in the event, the Indians face an uphill task tomorrow.

India chief coach G S Sandhu, however, says India has the championship in its pocket.

"The Philippines should have three more gold medals than us tomorrow and that looks unlikely," Sandhu told reporters after the conclusion of Friday's bouts.

"I've said this all along that the Philippines and Hungary boxers are among the very best. But I am confident that India will give all of them a run for their money," the coach maintained.

While Philippines have five pugilists in the Saturday's finals, Hungary has three in the heavier categories.

Indeed, the Philippines have been incredible in the championships. But on Friday evening, Aakash Korgankar almost grounded the high-flying squad. He put up a lion-hearted display against F Lournic, a gold medallist in the Finland International Boxing Championships, but his efforts were just not good enough to earn him a place in the finals.

Aaksh went all out to counter his superior opponent and, in fact, had the upper hand in the first round. But the armyman's undoing was his open-guarded play and poor fitness. Towards the fag end of his bout, he ran out of steam and boxed without any direction or purpose.

In the third round, Aakash started dropping his guard and his feet refused to move. The continuous rights he took towards the closing stages of the bout tilted the balance in favour of Lournic, who won 39-31.

"I thought Aakash had won the bout," Sandhu said. "He boxed beyond my expectations and seems a good prospect," he added.

In sharp contrast, another Goan boxer, Pandarinath Shirodkar, was a pale shadow of his former self. Unlike his first round bout against Afghanistan's Shamfhgale, his famed uppercuts were missing. Instead, He relied more on a four-punch combination and allowed Naveen Dev to score points at will.

Vijender Singh did his reputation no harm when he put up a methodical display to easily get the better of Harvinder Singh 21-5.

It was Parvinder Singh, however, who stunned the large gathering when he floored Mohammad Suherman, the menacing-looking and highly-rated boxer from Singapore. Parvinder struck a fierce left hook that struck Suherman right on his chin and he never recovered from there, forcing the referee to stop the contest.

"I am more than just happy with Vijender's performance. He is talented and works hard on his game," Sandhu said about Vijender, who was named the best boxer at the Senior National Boxing Championship, at Bangalore.

Inter-University gold medallist V Lavi was in his element today as he accounted for the prized scalp of Qatar's Nawaf Mohammad Bennor 24-21. The Qatar boxer threatened to upset Lavi's calculations but Lavi was smart enough to keep Nawaf Bennor at bay towards the closing stages to maintain his slender three-point margin.

India's super-heavy champion V Johnson lived up to his mighty reputation of finishing bouts before the third round as his continuous uppercuts and hooks saw Sarabjit Singh running for cover. Johnson won 24-4.

Hungary's Szello Imre was too good for India's Kanta Singh while Junard Ladon of the Philippines put up a sterling display against Qatar's Sadek Abdel Latif to win 22-7.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will be the chief guest at Saturday's finals, which begin at 5.00 p.m.

Featherweight: Junard Ladon (Philippines) bt Sadek Abdel Latif (Qatar) 22-7; Naveen Dev (India-Blue) bt Pandarinath Shirodkar (India-Green) RSC.

Light-welter: F Lournic (Philippines) bt Aakash Korgaonkar (India-Green) 39-31; Vijender (India-Red) bt Harvinder Singh (India-B) 21-5.

Welterweight: V Lavi (India-Green) bt Nawaf Mohammad Bennor (Qatar) 24-21; Balog Wilmos (Hungary) bye.

Light-heavy: Parvinder Singh (India-Blue) bt Mohamed Suherman (Singapore) RSC; Szello Imre (Hungary) bt Kanta Singh (India-Blue) RSC.

Super-heavy: V Johnson (India-Red) bt Sarbjit Singh (India-Blue) 24-4

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