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Railways claim National Boxing title

Source: PTI
September 12, 2008 19:52 IST
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Railways put up a fabulous final day show to retain the National Boxing Championships by just one point, winning four of their five summit clashes, after hosts Punjab put paid to Services' hopes with an upset win in the light-weight category in Bhatinda on Friday.

Railways finished the championship with four gold, a silver and a bronze and 50 points, a point ahead of Services, who were followed by hosts Punjab (34) in the third place.

With their star boxers and last year's champions Vijender Singh, the middle-weight Olympic bronze winner, and Jitender Kumar and Akhil Kumar, the Olympic quarter-finalists, watching from the sidelines, Railways, who were trailing Services till Thursday, bounced back in style to wrest the title.

Local favourite Kuldeep Singh was declared the 'Best Boxer' of the tournament after he replaced Vijender as the new middle-weight national champion, beating Haryana's Manjeet. Servicesman Rakesh Kalskar was declared the 'Best Loser' of the event.

Kalskar, a Commonwealth Championship bronze medallist, was stunned 9-22 by local boy Amandeep Singh in the light-weight final.

Railways also made sure that the 2006 champions paid heavily for the stunning loss with a last-day charge.

Last year's bronze medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg), coming into the finals after a long-drawn controversy over his quarter-final bout against defending champion Som Bahadur Pun (Services) who eventually gave him a walkover in the re-bout, proved his worth with a comprehensive 15-4 win over Meghalaya's Vijay Thapa.

Defending champion and last year's 'Best Boxer' Dilbag Singh scored an equally easy 16-4 win over Services' Jai Singh Patil to give Railways the edge.

Then, in the most exciting bout of the day, in the light heavy-weight division, defending champion Jasveer Singh (Railways) rallied to beat Services' Mahindra Thapa.

In a thriller of a contest, Jasveer was trailing 2-6 at the end of the second round but fought back to clinch the issue in the final few seconds.

Jasveer had no answer to Thapa's aggression in the first two rounds but he got his act together in the next two rounds to scrape through.

Jasveer's comeback battle started in the third round in which he displayed some sharp counter-punching to cover the deficit and ended on 10-10.

The decider turned out to be cliffhanger and both the boxers, at their aggressive best, landed scoring punches almost simultaneously but after being 12-12 with seconds left to close, Jasveer nosed ahead to come out 16-14 triumphant.

Another defending champion for Railways', Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) added the fourth gold to Railways' kitty by out-punching Haryana's Arun Kumar.

For Services, Chhotelal Yadav retained the the feather-weight title won by Beijing Olympian A L Lakra last year. M Suranjay Singh (51kg) and Manpreet Singh (91kg) were the other two gold medallist for the Services.

Meanwhile, in a stunning upset, Sydney Olympian and reigning bantam-weight national champion S Suresh Singh (CISF) lost 22-23 to Meghalaya's Torak Kharpran. Suresh scored 10 of his 22 points in the final round after being down 12-20 at the end of the third round but his final round blitzkrieg was not enough to fetch him the gold medal.

Surprisingly, considered the cradle of Indian boxing after Vijender, Akhil and Jitender's Olympic performance, Haryana ended the meet without a single gold medal, finishing fourth with a couple of silver medals.

Results (Finals):

48 kg: Amandeep Singh (Pun) bt Manawar Hussain (RSPB) 7-7 (16-14 countback).

51 kg: M Suranjay Singh (SSCB) bt Hemant Kumar (Jha) 19-9.

54 kg: Torak Kharparan (Meg) bt S Suresh Singh (CISF) 23-22.

57 kg: Chhotelal Yadav (SSCB) bt M B Pagare (Mah) 25-8.

60 kg: Amandeep Singh (Pun) bt Rakesh Kalaskar (SSCB) 22-9.

64 kg: Manoj Kumar (RSPB) bt Vijay Thapa (Meg) 15-4.

69 kg: Dilbagh Singh (RSPB) bt Jai Singh Patil (SSCB) 16-4.

75 kg: Kuldeep Singh (Pun) bt Manjeet (Har) 21-15.

81 kg: Jasveer Singh (RSPB) bt Mahindra Thapa (SSCB) 16-14.

91 kg: Manpreet Singh (SSCB) bt Narendra (Del) 21-5.

Over 91 kg: Paramjeet Samota (RSPB) bt Arun Kumar (Har) 26-11.

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