The Commonwealth Games medallist duo of Laishram Devendro Singh and Manoj Kumar notched up contrasting wins in their new weight categories to advance on the second day of the senior men’s national championship in Guwahati on Friday.
The second day at the nationals turned out to be much more organised and disciplined than the first day with more that 100 bouts being held during the day.
Manipur’s Devendro overcame some anxious moments to beat lesser known Bhoj Raj of Uttar Pradesh 3-2 in his maiden attempt at the Flyweight (52 kilogram) category.
The 24-year-year-old Asian Championships and Commonwealth Games silver medallist started on a shaky note but soon picked up the momentum in the second and third rounds to get a split 3-2 verdict in his favour.
The celebrated Devendro, who so far used to ply his trade in the Light Flyweight category (49 kg) reasoned that his decision to move up to a higher weight category was due to injuries and better hand-eye co-ordination.
“Light fly was not difficult to maintain, I could bring it down when I wanted but it was leading to injuries and it was also affecting my hand-eye coordination,” Devendro said after his exhausting bout at the Sarusajai indoor Stadium here.
“I had been competing in light-flyweight since 2007 and I thought this was the time to change.”
“Today my body felt a bit tight but maybe it was because I was competing after a long time, this is my first competition after Olympics,” added the affable boxer, who missed out on Olympic qualification earlier this year despite being a medallist in the final qualifying tournament.
The diminutive boxer from Manipur would be turning up for the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB), his first competitive outing after the heartbreak he endured at the final Asian Olympic Qualifiers in June.
The national championships would be an opportunity for him for the Asian Championships silver medallist to make a fresh start.
Besides Devendro, Manoj Kumar from the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB), also made a memorable debut in the Welterweight (69kg) after deciding to jump a division post the Rio Olympics.
The 29-year-old Manoj, who defeated Commonwealth Games silver medallist Mandeep Jangra in the Railways’ trials to book his berth for the nationals, outpunched Tamil Nadu’s Manikanadan 5-0 in a contest that started on an even keel but eventually turned out to be lop-sided.
“I felt good. There was no stiffness in the body either, my gloves were not of great fitting. So I was avoiding hitting too powerfully because that could have caused injury. But overall I was happy with how the bout turned out for me,” the two-time Olympian said.
Local favourite Shiva Thapa, who also moved up from the Bantamweight (56kg) category to the Lightweight (60kg) division was unanimously adjudged winner over Gumin Gara of Arunachal Pradesh on the opening day.
Among others in the Flyweight category, Roshan of Rajasthan, Niraj of Haryana and Uttarakhand’s Arvind emerged victorious, while Buntee Singh of Delhi, A. Malemnganga of Manipur and Sukhraj of Sikkim also reached the second round in the Bantamweight section.
In Light Flyweight, Tamil Nadu’s Hari Krishanan defeated Palsarvesh of All India Police while Shayam Kumar of RSPB beat Pankaj Saini of Punjab. Both victories came via unanimous decisions.
Neeraj from Delhi got a walkover from Meghalaya’s Pynskhemlang while Uttar Pradesh’s Gobind reached the next round by beating Suraj Raut of Bengal.
Neeraj of All India Police, Jammu and Kashmir’s Ashish and Meghalaya’s Tilok Budha notched up dominating 5-0 wins over their respective opponents in the Welterweight competition.
Satpal Singh of Jharkhand, Mizoram’s Andy Chauha, Ankush Hudda of Chandigarh and Rocky of Haryana also progressed to the next round.
In Middleweight (75kg) category, Uttarakhand’s Sumit Kumar, Rajasthan’s Pritam Singh, Prabagaran of Pondicherry and Madhya Pradesh’s Dushyant registered victories in the opening round.
In the Light Heavyweight (81kg) division, Chirag of Delhi, Geeta Nanad of Himachal Pradesh and Dilip Yadav of Maharashtra entered the second round.
In the Light Welterweight (64kg) category, V.P. Shaun Mukesh of Tamil Nadu, Ashish of Haryana, RSPB’s Rohit and Rajasthan’s Pritam Singh advanced to the second round.
In the Lightweight division, Manish of SSCB and Sunil Chouhan of Uttar Pradesh notched up wins in their opening round bouts.
In the heavyweight (91kg) category, Rohit Shinde of Manipur, Jasveer Singh of RSPB, Gaurav of MP and UP’s Vishawjit progressed to the second round.