The inaugural edition of the Dr BR Ambedkar All Indian Men’s Boxing Tournament got underway in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh on Thursday (9 Aug 2012). Being organised by the Andhra Pradesh State Boxing Association, under the aegis of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, the championship aims to bring out new talent in the sport and also give an opportunity to the second and third string of boxers who do not get a chance to participate in the premier domestic tournaments. The four day event witnessed a total of 175 boxers from 22 state and board teams participate in the opening year of the tournament.
After an intense two days of action boxers made way into the penultimate round of the championship. In the semi-finals of the light fly weight division, reigning Haryana State Champion Amit Panghal had little trouble getting past Punjab boxer Gagandeep Singh. The Haryana lad beat Singh by virtue of points 12-7 to secure a place in the championship round. Panghal will now take on Amit Kumar Srivastava of Delhi in the summit clash. Srivastava drubbed Gyanendra Sharma of Madhya Pradesh to make his place in the finals. In the fly weight class, current Youth National Champion V Bala Krishna also registered an easy victory over Jitu Sangele of Maharashtra to advance into the final round where he will lock horns with bronze medallist from the Senior Nationals last year Govind Singh of the Services.
The light weight category saw an upset in the form of Rohit Tokas of Delhi. The reigning Zonal National Champion lost out against the heavy hitting from Malkhan Singh of Haryana. Tokas, who was down two points after the opening three minutes, tried hard to make a comeback in the second round, but Malkhan’s relentless attacking play proved to be too strong for the Delhi lad. In the end he lost on points 13-9. In the other half of the draw, local lad K. Hareesh also upstaged silver medallist from the 44th Youth Men Nationals Lokesh Bhoj of the Services in an enthralling contest. Bhoj seemed on course to making a place in the championship round with a 5 point advantage after the first two rounds of play. But the Andhra boxer made a stunning recovery in the third round. With the help of some feisty combinations and straight jabs, Hareesh took the game away from Bhoj. He won the round 8:2 and with it the bout with an overall score of 15-14.
Naveen Balhera representing Orissa also made a place in the welter weight finals after a resounding win over Bishorjit Singh of Manipur. He will square off against Manish Uikey of Madhya Pradesh, who defeated Mohammad Azad in what was a completely one sided affair.