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Jitender mauls Gurbinder; Qamar adjudged the best

The Services team which won the title in the senior National boxing championship in New Delhi on Sunday. (Right) Md. Ali Qamar who was declared the best boxer. — Photos: Sandeep Saxena

The Services team which won the title in the senior National boxing championship in New Delhi on Sunday. (Right) Md. Ali Qamar who was declared the best boxer. — Photos: Sandeep Saxena  

NEW DELHI MARCH 30. Heavyweight Jitender Kumar needs little introduction. And, the Manchester Commonwealth Games bronze medallist hardly gave any time to his opponent from Services, Gurbinder Singh, for any preamble.

Railways' Jitender set off the fireworks as soon as the referee called to box, and won the heavyweight final inside 30 seconds, in the 49th National boxing championship here on Sunday.

There was hardly any comparison as Jitender landed a barrage of punches, both on Gurbinder's face and the chest. Even before the referee could intervene, Services' coach literally threw in the towel in the ring to avoid any further damage.

This was Railways' fifth gold medal from 11 weight categories. Commonwealth Gold medallist, Mohammed Ali Qamar, who won the light flyweight class in a close points decision, initiated the collection.

Though Services, with six gold and two silver medals, won the overall team championship garnering 63 points, it was the Railways' pugilists who impressed. Railways (54 points) finished second while Haryana (21) was placed third.

Defending champion Qamar held off a stiff challenge from Services' Khimanand Belwal and won 23-20 to emerge as the `best boxer' of the championship. Qamar had skipped two important events _ the Hyderabad National Games and YMCA International tournament _ after the Busan Asian Games.

Qamar underwent a nasal surgery and was largely out of action for a while. But for the close final bout, his performance has raised some hopes for India in the Olympic qualifying year. There will be three events later this year and early next year to earn quota places for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

While there were a few one-sided contests, Rajesh Kumar of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) gave a hard time to the eventual champion Kanta Singh of Services, in the light middleweight category.

As in the earlier rounds, Kanta Singh seemed to have the knack to upset his opponents. In the quarterfinals, Railways Devender Singh had virtually resorted to wrestling with Kanta, and on Sunday it was Rajesh Kumar's turn.

After being down 2-9 in the first round, Rajesh returned with some vengeance and ended 8-8 even for a 10-17 aggregate midway through. Kanta executed a phantom punch that floored Rajesh in the third round, but the CISF pugilist quickly recovered his balance.

Starting the final round at 14-24, there was no other alternative for Rajesh Kumar but to go all out. He went out of control earning two cautions from the referee. Rajesh's punches didn't connect well and Kanta just about defended to pass off the time. Despite 8-6 in favour of Rajesh, Kanta won the contest 30-22 to be the light middleweight champion.

Akhil Kumar, the silver medallist of the last edition, finally struck gold. The Railways boxer fought bravely, and with some luck, defeated CISF's S. Suresh Singh 25-24 in the flyweight class.

In other categories, Som Bahadur Pun (featherweight), Ramanand (lightweight), A. Santosh Kumar (welterweight), Satish Kumar (middleweight), and V. Johnson (super heavyweight), won gold medals for Services, in lop-sided contests.

The results (finals): Light flyweight: Mohammed Ali Qamar (Rly) bt Khimanand Belwal (Ser) 23-20. Flyweight: Akhil Kumar (Rly) bt S. Suresh Singh (CISF) 25-24. Bantamweight: Dalbir Singh (CISF) bt Y. Herojit Singh (Man) 50-36. Featherweight: Som Bahadur Pun (Ser) bt D. Manikandan (AP) 26-7. Lightweight: Ramanand (Ser) bt Pawan Kumar (Har) RSC III. Light welterweight: V. Harikrishnan (Rly) bt T. B. Thapa (Meg) 34-22. Welterweight: A. Santosh Kumar (Ser) bt Anil Kumar (CISF) RSC II. Light middleweight: Kanta Singh (Ser) bt Rajesh Kumar (CISF) 30-22. Middleweight: Satish Kumar (Ser) bt Joginder Dagar (Pol) RSC II. Light heavyweight: Harpreet Singh (Rly) bt D.B. Thapa (MP) RSC II. Heavyweight: Jitender Kumar (Rly) bt Gurbinder Singh (Ser) Retd. I. Super heavyweight: V. Johnson (Ser) bt Shakti Singh (Rly) RSC III. Team championship: 1. Services 63 points; 2. Railways 54; 3. Haryana 21. Best boxer: Mohammed Ali Qamar (Rly). Best loser: Gurmel Singh (Ser).

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