Amandeep Singh (49kg) out-punched Malaysian M. Redzuan while Jai Bhagwan (60kg) didn’t even step inside the ring to make the finals as a record six Indians assured themselves of at least a silver in the fifth Commonwealth Championships here on Tuesday.
Good news started trickling in early in the day for India when Asian Championship silver medallist Jai got a walkover into the finals after his English opponent Danny Philips was found medically unfit in the weigh-in this morning. Jai will face Bahamian Valention Knowles in the final on Wednesday.
The man who did go to the ring did not disappoint the home fans either.
Amandeep, a gold medallist from the January South Asian Games in Dhaka, thrashed Redzuan 7-1 in a lopsided bout to enter the final. He will now face Kenya’s Peter Mungai, who notched up a 7-0 win over Botswana’s Bathusi Mogajane.
With world number one Vijender Singh (75kg), Asian champion Suranjoy Singh (52kg), World Cup bronze medallist Dinesh Kumar (81kg) and Asian bronze medallist Paramjeet Samota already through to the finals, the Indian team is in contention for lifting the team championship as well.
In the only bout to feature a local favourite, Amandeep fought from long range to get past his opponent, who was aggressive throughout.
A few jabs earned Amandeep a crucial 3-0 lead in the opening round and though he couldn’t add to the tally in the next three minutes, the Indian ensured that none of his opponent’s wild swings could get to him.
“My opponent was slightly slow and that helped my cause,” the 23-year-old Punjab boxer said after the bout.
In the final three minutes, Amandeep landed a couple of powerful hooks to increase the lead, adding to Redzuan’s frustration, who was penalised two points for bending excessively.
“The plan was to take a good lead in the opening round and guard that. We wanted to be safer in the second round because a tall boxer like Amandeep is an easy prey for wild swings by shorter boxers. So he likes to fight from long range,” said national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu.
“Amandeep is again facing a southpaw in the final,” he added.
Amandeep, who quit hockey to take up a boxing career a few years ago, beat world junior champion Thokchom Nanao Singh in the trials for the event last month. Amandeep said sparring with Nanao has helped improve his skills.
“Training with Nanao helps because he is also a southpaw,” he said