Dilbag Singh of Railways lifted his ninth national title with a classy display against Naveen Balhera of Haryana in the final of the welterweight (69 kg) class on the concluding day of the Sahara 59th senior National boxing championship for men at the Lal Bahadur indoor stadium here on Sunday.

The team title went to Railways (43 points), while Services (42) was runner-up followed by Punjab (27).

The experienced Dilbag fought in his usual style, keeping his guard low and tempting his opponent to have a go. But Dilbag seemed to know exactly when and where the punch would come and ducked or swayed away at the right time. Naveen pulled out all the weapons in his armoury but Dilbag blunted them all.

And whenever Dilbag attacked, his probing lefts and rights invariably landed right on target. Dilbag led 7-2 at the end of the first round, 11-3 in the second and eventually ended up winning with a comfortable 14-6 margin.

When asked what was the secret of his consistency and success, the modest Dilbag said : “I am no different from the other boxers you have seen here. But I have been inspired by the records that Sachin Tendulkar has set.”

Best bout

As expected the best bout of the day, in terms of skill, was the one between Nanao Singh of Services and Amandeep Singh of Railways in the light flyweight final.

Both boxers were equally matched in skill and experience and started cautiously. Nanao opened the scoring with two left hooks. But when Amandeep tried to restore parity, his attempts met with less success against Nanao’s impregnable defence. At the end of the first round Nanao had a slender 4-3 lead.

In round two, Nanao Singh decided to step up the pace. Cheered on by a large contingent of armymen who were in the stands, he threw more punches which pegged back his opponent. His power-packed left hook was a lethal weapon that Amandeep found difficult to counter. Nanao extended his domination into the third round and eventually it was no surprise when he walked out a winner. It was Nanao’s third national title. In the bantamweight final Sauban Santosh of Manipur easily defeated V. Durga Rao of Karnataka 15-9. Both boxers are actually from the Services but not having found a place in the Services team, they chose to don the colours of their respective States.

Sauban Santosh later said that his best moment in this tournament came when he defeated former National champion Chote Lal in the quarterfinal bout earlier. His dream is to represent his employers – Services.

The results (all finals): Light flyweight (46-49 kg): T. Nanao Singh (SSCB) bt Amandeep Singh (RSPB) 18-15. Flyweight (52 kg): Madan Lal (SSCB) bt Gaurav Bidhuri (Del) 21-11. Bantamweight (56 kg): Sauban Santosh Singh (Man) bt V. Durga Rao (Kar) 15-9. Lightweight (60 kg): Vikash (RSPB) bt Neeraj Goyat (Tri) 17-10. Light welterweight (64 kg): Mandeep (RSPB) bt Manish Pawar (Del) 11-3. Welterweight (69 kg): Dilbag Singh (RSPB) bt Naveen Balhera (Har) 14-6. Middleweight (75 kg): Sukhdeep Singh (Pun) bt Jaideep (SSCB) 17-13. Light heavyweight (81 kg): Rahul Kumar Pasi (MP) bt Jagroop (Pun) 21-10. Heavyweight (91 kg): Manpreet Singh (SSCB) bt Samrat Ingle (Mah) 17-8. Super heavyweight (plus 91 kg): Satish Kumar (SSCB) bt Praveen Kumar (RSPB) 10-7. Best boxer: Nanao Singh (SSCB); Best loser: V. Durga Rao (Kar); Most promising boxer: K. Sagar (AP).

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