New Delhi: Indian boxers have created history by winning a record haul of 10 medals, including four gold, in the Invitation FXTM International Boxing Cup held in Limassol, Cyprus.
Pugilists Madan Lal (52kg), V Durga Rao (56kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg) and Praveen Kumar (+91kg) won gold while Manoj Kumar (64kg), Dinesh Kumar (91kg) and Sukhdeep Singh (75kg) had to be satisfied with silver medals.
This is also the first time Indian boxers have managed to win a tournament on the European circuit.
Earlier in the tournament, Anil Kumar (60kg), Jagroop Singh (81kg) and L Devendro Singh (49kg) had crashed out in the semifinals and ended up with a bronze each.
It was a heart break for Manoj Kumar as the Olympian and 2010 Commonwealth Games champion lost to Abdelkader Chadi of Algeria in the final of 64kg category.
Both the boxers started cautiously, waiting for the other to make the move but 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 the final round. Ultimately the Indian lost the bout by 3 points.
Reigning national champion, Madan Lal was up against Ayigah Dodsi from Belgium in the first match. He started strongly to register an early lead. Lal's sharp combinations of straight punches and hooks helped him gain a 5 point lead at the end of the first round.
In the second, the Belgium boxer tried to make a comeback but the 21-year-old Indian was up to the challenge. Lal quickly changed his strategy and relied more on counter attacks in the final two rounds and went on to bag the fly weight title with consummate ease in the end.
2009 Youth Olympic Games gold medallist V Durga Rao had to dig deep against German boxer Dieter Dier. After three round 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.
Contrary to Rao's bout, Mandeep, a gold medallist at the 2012 senior nationals, was in exceptional touch as he devoured Victor Vega Blanco of Spain in a completely one-sided affair to bag the welter weight title.
Super heavy-weight boxer Praveen Kumar won the fourth gold for India after overhauling Beguerni Hamza from Algeria.
Olympian Dinesh Kumar, who had beaten Olympian and WSB boxer Chouaib Bouloudinat from Algeria in the semis, came up short against the power hitting of Fotios Arapoglous from Greece.
Participating in his maiden international event Sukhdeep Singh gave a good account of his skills and showed immense potential in the tournament. In the finals though, the 20-year-old was unable to get past Kyriakos Spanos of Cyprus.
"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," chief national coach G S Sandhu said.
"Even the first timers did a tremendous job to be counted among the medal winners at the event; these are promising signs for Indian boxing and this performance will do wonders for their confidence," he said.