Vijender overcomes bleeding nose and gritty opponent
India had a glorious day in the XXX Energy Drink Commonwealth boxing championship as it produced its best-ever showing in the meet by claiming the team championship with a tally of six gold medals.
All the six Indians in the finals tasted success in front of a packed house on the concluding day of the championship on Wednesday. The previous best by the country — four gold and three silver — had come in the 2005 meet in Scotland.
Olympic and World medallist Vijender Singh exhibited his grit to ignore a bleeding nose and overcome a strong challenge from England's Frank Buglioni to claim his first gold medal in two years.
The bout was much tougher than what the 13-3 scorline suggested. Inspired by the home crowd, Vijender, even after injuring his nose, took care not to get too close to the Englishman, who had a knack of scoring off left punches, and took a 3-1 lead in the first round.
The Indian led 7-2 in the second period. The final round witnessed some fiery trading of punches but it was Vijender who made the most of it despite lowering his guard and intimidating his opponent.
“I was a bit nervous thinking that the referee might stop the bout because of my bleeding nose. However, the support of the home crowd spurred me to carry on,” said Vijender, who was adjudged the best boxer of the meet.
Among the others, dark horse Paramjeet Samota's performance stood out. The super heavyweight boxer, trailing 0-1 in the first round, once again displayed his big heart to tame New Zealand's Joseph Parker 7-3.
“This is the biggest achievement of my career so far. I tried to keep my guard up and it proved beneficial again,” the 24-year-old Samota said.
It was a cakewalk for Suranjoy Singh who outclassed Oliver Lavigi of Mauritius in just 25 seconds while Amandeep banked on his solid defence to get the better of Kenyan Peter Mungai 3-0.
Jai Bhagwan, the Asian silver medallist, bagged the yellow metal after his keenly-fought bout against Valention Knowles of the Bahamas. After being 2-2 in the second round, Jai Bhagwan intensified his attack in the third to win 6-2.
Dinesh Kumar got a walkover from Scotland's Callum Johnson, who opted out because of a wrist injury.
Ian Weaver of England was chosen the most promising boxer of the championship.
Hero Honda presented a motorcycle to all the six gold medallists. Percept, the promoter of the event, awarded each boxer Rs. 25,000and a Siyaram's suit.
Percept also announced that five boxers — Vijender, Suranjoy, Dinesh, Jai Bhagwan and Balwinder Beniwal — had been roped in under its talent hunt programme.
According to the Joint Managing Director of Percept, Shailendra Singh, steel company Monnet will be the official team and kit sponsor of the Indian squad for three years.
The results (finals):
49-kg: Amandeep (Ind) bt Peter Mungai (Ken) 3-0; 52-kg: Suranjoy Singh (Ind) bt Oliver Lavigi (Mri) RSC-OC (R1); 56-kg: Ian Weaver (Eng) bt M.D.K. Wanniarachchi (SL) 7-1; 60-kg: Jai Bhagwan (Ind) bt Valention Knowles (Bah) 6-2.
64-kg: Scott Cardle (Eng) w.o. Chris Jenkins (Wal); 69-kg: Fred Evans (Wal) bt Moabi Mothiba (Bot) 5-2; 75-kg: Vijender Singh (Ind) bt Frank Buglioni (Eng) 13-3; 81-kg: Dinesh Kumar (Ind) w.o. Callum Johnson (Sco).
91-kg: Simon Vallily (Eng) bt Elly Ajowi (Ken) RSC-H (R1); +91 kg: Paramjeet Samota (Ind) bt Joseph Parker (NZ) 7-3.