Hyderabad: The services team suffered a major setback in the 59th Sahara Men’s National Boxing Championship presented by the Monnet Ispat and Energy Limited with 2010 South Asian Games gold medallist Chhote Lal Yadav losing out in the quarter-finals of the bantam weight division.
The 24-year-old, put up a good fight against some power hitting from S Santosh Singh of Manipur, but in the end came up short. Yadav a 2011 senior nationals bronze medal winner was slow off the mark and Singh – a contemporary of Yadav’s from junior level – took complete advantage of his sluggish start. A warning given by the referee for holding added to the army man’s woes.
By the end of the first round he was down a three point deficit (3-6). The next round was an intense three minutes of play with both the boxer going all out. Chhote Lal though, was unable to reduce the margin, with each securing 5 points apiece. With fatigue setting in Chhote Lal’s attacks became wavered and Singh, who seemed to be in a better physical state, took complete control of the bout. In the end the 2006 Junior World Boxing Championship silver medallist went on to make a place in the semi-finals with a decisive 17-11 win on points.
The Manipur boxer was extremely happy with his performance and said he was under no pressure going into the bout, “I have sparred with Chhote Lal many times in training camps before and I know his game. I have been working very hard for this tournament and I was sure of making it into the semi-finals”.
Singh, who has been in and out of the national circuit for the last couple of year due to back problems, says he is looking forward to this tournament as his big break and his ticket into the national camp. He expressed, “the last couple of years have been tough, but I am physically fit now and hoping to get into the national camp with a good performance in the nationals.”
He now takes on Ashish Gautam of Uttar Pradesh in the semi-finals. In the other half of the draw last year’s bronze medallist V Durga Rao of Karnataka made a place in the penultimate round with a victory over Yudh Veer of Madhya Pradesh. He will now compete against Haryana state champion Ajay Kumar of in the semis.