SHILLONG, Feb 15: In a day thoroughly domited by the hosts, Indian men made a clean sweep of all seven gold medals on offer in boxing at the 12th South Asian Games in Shillong on Monday.
Youngster Shiva Thapa added another feather to his cap beating Sri Lanka's RuwanThilifor the gold medal in the bantamweight category. L Devendro Singh faced stiff resistance from Pakistan's Mohib Ulla but eventually prevailed 2-1 in the light fly (46-49 kg) category.
MadanLal beat Pakistan's Syed MdAsif 3-0 in the fly (52 kg) category. Dheeraj overcame Pakistan's Ahmed Ali in the light (60 kg) category, while Manoj Kumar got the better of Sri Lanka's D Suparamadu 3-0 in the light welter category. MandeepJangra tamed Afghanistan's RahemiAlla Dad in the welter (69 kg) category, while VikasKrishan (75 kg) signed off in style trouncing Pakistan's Ahmed Tanveer in a unimous 3-0 decision.
There were no surprises in store at the NEHU, SAI Special Area Games for there was no stopping India's gold rush. However, a couple of rival boxers did create the occasiol jitters for Indian fans.
Shiva Thapa faced an aggressive Lankan opponent RuwanThili who looked to take the attack to the Indian. Shiva made a flawless start with a left jab and a straight punch setting the tempo for the bout. The reigning Asian champion was, however, pushed to the defensive by his opponent looking to force headbutts in the second round. A right upper cut and a flurry of punches pushed the Lankan rival back as Thapa sailed to the gold with a 3-0 unimous decision.
"It was a good challenge," said Thapa, elated at winning the gold at the SAG which was "by no means easy."
Earlier, L Devendro Singh had a fight on his hands from Pakistan's Mohib Ulla, who came back well in the second round to dent the Indian's onslaught. Devendro won by a 2-1 split decision.
Meanwhile, Dheeraj had a tough time taming Pakistan's Ahmed Ali in the fil of the light weight category.Ali looked quicker of the two in round 1 and used his height to the advantage. It was an intense round 2 which saw both boxers exchange a flurry of punches with a sharp right jab by Ali buoying the Pakistan contingent in the stands. Dheeraj, however, took control in round 3. The Indian eventually won by a split decision of 2-1.
Up against the mighty Afghan RahemiAlla Dad, MandeepJangra had to be on the defensive with the rival swinging blows all along. An upper cut and a right hook in round 2 asserted Mandeep'sascendance over the bout. The Afghan was not ready to yield easily and retaliated with a left jab. In what was a visibly close contest, Rahemi went down 0-3 by unimous decision.
"He was a tough opponent, it was a good fight in the end," Mandeep admitted after the bout.
A half fit VikasKrishan, who has been suffering from a light fever for the last three days, made light work of Pakistan's Ahmed Tanveer to sign off in style for India.
With the men living up to their expectations the onus would now be on the Indian women to get India a perfect 10 golds in boxing on Tuesday.
The hosts also won seven gold medals on the first day of the judo competition.
Medal Tally (Day 11)
Gold Silver Bronze Total
INDIA 181 88 30 299
SRI LANKA 25 60 96 181
PAKISTAN 10 35 55 100
BANGLADESH 4 14 53 71
AFGHANISTAN 7 8 18 33
NEPAL 3 23 29 55
BHUTAN 0 1 15 16
MALDIVES 0 2 1 3