Indian boxers scaled new frontiers as they powered through to claim the top rank and bag the 2013 Invitational FXTM International Limassol Boxing Cup.
The Indian pugilists displayed grit and talent throughout the tournament and a stunning performance particularity in the finals Sunday with a total tally of 10 medals -- four gold, three silver and three bronze -- ensured a first place in the overall standings for the Indian contingent. This is the first time that Indian boxers have won a tournament on the European circuit.
Reigning national champion Madan Lal (52kg) was the first Indian to take to the ring. Up against Ayigah Dodsi from Belgium, Lal started strongly to register an early lead. His sharp combinations of straight punches and hooks helped him gain a five-point lead at the end of Round 1.
In the second, the Belgian tried to make a comeback but the 21-year-old Lal was up to the challenge, quickly changing his strategy. Lal relied more on counter-attacks in the final two rounds and went on to bag the flyweight title with ease.
Gold medallist at the 2009 Youth Olympic Games V. Durga Rao (56kg) had to dig deep against German boxer Dieter Dier. After three rounds of intense action, the scores were knotted at 12-all. In the end though, it was Rao who emerged victorious on individual judge's score to bag his very first international medal on the senior tour.
Mandeep Jangra (69kg) devoured Victor Vega Blanco of Spain in a completely one sided affair to bag the welterweight title. Super heavyweight boxer Praveen Kumar (+91kg) won the fourth gold for India after overhauling Beguerni Hamza from Algeria.
Olympian and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) had to settle for silver after losing out to Abdelkader Chadi of Algeria. Both the boxers started cautiously, waiting for the other to make the move. In the end it was the Algerian boxer who dominated the first round.
Manoj came back strongly to win the second but Chadi's precise attacks helped him maintain the overall advantage in final round. Ultimately, Manoj lost the bout by three points.
Olympian Dinesh Kumar (91kg) also suffered a similar fate. Kumar came up short against the power-hitting of Fotios Arapoglous from Greece. He too will have to be content with a silver.
Participating in his maiden international event Sukhdeep Singh (75kg) gave a good account of his boxing skills. In the finals though, the 20-year-old was unable to get past local boy Kyriakos Spanos.
Chief national coach G.S. Sandhu was extremely pleased with India's performance.
"This is a first for us, we have never won a tournament in the European circuit before. It is a big achievement for Indian boxers and I am very happy with the way most of our boys fought. Even the first timers did a tremendous job to be counted among the medal winner at the event. These are promising signs for India boxing and this performance will do wonders for their confidence," said Sandhu.
Earlier in the tournament, Anil Kumar (60kg), Jagroop Singh (81kg) and L. Devendro Singh (49kg) reached the semifinals. The three lost out in the round of four and had to be content with a bronze medal finish.