Diwakar, Amandeep in semis of National Championships

New Delhi: Olympian Diwakar Prasad and
Commonwealth champion Amandeep Singh assured themselves of a
medal with contrasting triumphs even as a couple of upsets
highlighted the quarterfinals of the 57th Senior Men`s
National Boxing Championships here on Wednesday.

Diwakar (60kg), competing for the Railways Sports
Promotion Board, put on another clinical performance to beat
Jammu Kashmir`s Deepak.

The referee had to stop the contest midway through the
third round when one of Diwakar`s several counter-attacks left
Deepak with a cut above his left eye.

Diwakar, with his sharp reflexes and rhythmic foot
movement, seemed a class above Deepak, who struggled to engage
his more experienced rival.

Diwakar will now face reigning youth world champion Vikas
Krishan, who easily defeated Uttarakhand`s Amit Kumar 5-0.

In contrast, Amandeep, another Railways` boxer, was given
a rather tough fight by Asian Youth silver medallist Devendro
Singh in the light fly weight quarterfinals.

The 18-year-old Manipuri kept it 0-0 in the first round
with his tight defence but as the bout progressed, Devendro
lost the tempo.

Devendro`s punches lacked the power that was needed to
convince the judges to award points and the more experienced
and stronger Amandeep was quick to capitalise.

But Devendro`s valiant fight earned him a warm embrace
from his opponent and a pat on the back from Railways` coach
Jaidev Bisht.

Meanwhile, South Asian Games gold medallist Chhote Lal
Yadav, from the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB), was his
usual dominant self as he out-punched Punjab`s Kulwinder Singh
6-0 in the bantam weight 56kg quarterfinals.

Yadav is not just the defending champion in this
division, he was also the Best Boxer of the previous Nationals
in Hyderabad.

The 26-year-old will now take on Torak Kharappan after
the Meghalaya boxer out-classed Assam`s Guna Gourav in his
quarter-final bout.

Elsewhere, in what can be considered an upset,
little-known Sanjay Singh (RSPB) stunned former cadet world
champion Balbir, competing as an Indian Boxing Federation
entry, 7-1 in the fly weight division.

20-year-old Sanjay, a two-time gold medallist at the
junior nationals, assured himself of his maiden senior
Nationals medal with the win against his temperamental rival,
who had sprung a major surprise yesterday by beating Asian
champion Suranjoy Singh.

Another former world cadet champion Vipin Kumar,
competing for Uttar Pradesh, defeated SSCB`s Sanjay Kolte 3-2
in the second surprise result.

Kolte is the more experienced of the two and has been an
international medallist in the past.

Former Commonwealth champion Sunil Kumar (Haryana)
advanced to the medal round with a 7-3 win over Maharashtra`s
Salman in the fly weight category.

Former Asian bronze medallist Manoj Kumar (RSPB) pulled
off a hard-fought 5-2 triumph over Punjab`s Lakhbir Singh in
the light welter weight division to enter the semis.

Eight-time champion Dilbag Singh (RSPB) remained on
course for a record ninth gold with an 8-0 triumph over
Punjab`s Jagwinder in the welter weight quarters.

In another welter weight quarterfinal, former
Commonwealth bronze medallist Dilbagh Singh (Delhi) also
entered the semis with a narrow 1-0 win over Himachal
Pradesh`s Geetanand.