Guwahati: Asian Games gold medallist boxer and local favourite Shiva Thapa clinched the gold medal in the Lightweight (60kg) category after thrashing Haryana's Ankush in the final of the Senior Men's National Championships here on Tuesday.
Commonwealth Games medallist Manoj Kumar also clinched the gold in Welterweight (69kg) category while Manipur's Laishram Devendro Singh had to settle for the silver after losing his Flyweight (52kg) bout to Chandigarh's Deepak Singh.
In a first, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) had cash prizes in each category with the gold medallists bagging Rs. 20,000, while the silver medal winners got Rs.12,000. Two bronze medallists in each category were given Rs.7000 each.
A host of dignitaries including London Olympics bronze medallist and Rajya Sabha member M.C. Mary Kom, Boxing Federation of India (BFI) President Ajay Singh and Assam PWD Minister Parimal Suklabaidya were present during the finals.
Entering the ring amidst thunderous applause at the Sarusajai Indoor Stadium, Shiva proved too powerful for his opponent as the 23-year-old managed to floor Haryana's Ankush twice in the first round.
The second round too witnessed Shiva cornering Ankush with his punches before the latter retaliated to some extent. Despite his best efforts, Shiva was twice struck on his bloodied forehead but fortunately managed to keep himself out of his rival's grasps thereafter.
In the final three minutes, Shiva, boxing in his new weight category, came back strongly with his upper cuts landing straight on Ankush's face, before the referees ruled the verdict in favour of the home pugilist by an unanimous decision.
Expressing his delight after the bout, Shiva told IANS: "It was a difficult bout, specially with the injury. But overall I am very much satisfied to start my new weight category with a gold..it is more satisfying as it has come in front of my home crowd."
"Now I am looking forward to the new season..This gold is just a small step as I have more challenges to overcome, specially the Asian Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," he added.
Meanwhile, in Flyweight (52kg) category, a new star was born in Chandigarh's Deepak Singh, who thrashed a visibly unfit Laishram Devendro Singh by an unanimous 5-0 verdict.
On Tuesday, the diminutive Manipuri looked a shadow of his usual self when he entered the ring against the 20-year-old, who started dominating from the word go.
The 24-year-old Asian Championships and Commonwealth Games silver medallist failed to offer any resistance to his opponent who gained the upper hand with his rich volley of punches in each round.
Not the one to give up easily, Devendro, with a bloodied forehead, tried hard to bounce back in the final three minutes but it was too late as the referees gave it in favour of the Chandigarh pugilist.
Hailing his opponent's agility and power, Devendro said Deepak could go a long way in the coming years. "It was definitely a tight bout. He is young and fit. Winning and losing are part and parcel of a sport."
Devendro further said that he will sit with his coaches to analyse his performance and try to rectify his shortcomings.
Devendro, who came to the Nationals after recovering from an ankle injury, conceded that he was 80 percent fit and will need some time to get used to his new weight category.
Coming from a humble background in Chandigarh, the gold at the Nationals was Deepak's first taste of success in any major national competition.
"I won medals in college level competitions, but if you speak of major tournaments, this is the first time and the joy was doubled as it's a gold. It's just the start and I hope to continue from here on," he said.
In Welterweight (69kg) category, Commonwealth Games medallist Manoj from the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) came back from behind to clinch the gold medal after beating Services Sports Control Board's (SSCB) Duryodhan Singh 4-1 by a split decision.
"It was a good game, I have beaten him many times in various competitions. He was good in the second round, but I always knew I could get the better of him," Manoj said after his bout.
Among other categories, Haryana boxer Amit outpunched RSPB's Shayam Kumar to clinch the gold in Light Flyweight category while SSCB's Md. Hussamuddin trounced Haryana's Akshay 5-0 in the Bantam (56kg) weight category to win the gold.
In Light Welterweight (64kg) SSCB's Thomans Meitei overcame stiff competition from RSPB's Rohit to win his bout 3-2 and the gold medal.
In Middleweight (75kg) category, SSCB's Jaideep won by an unanimous decision to clinch the gold against Mizoram's Venhlimpuia while RSPB's Manish Panwar took the gold in Light Heavyweight (81kg) after beating Madhya Pradesh's Rahul 3-2.
In Heavyweight (91kg), Madhya Pradesh's Gaurav emerged the winner against Himachal Pradesh pugilist Virender Kumar while in Super Heavyweight (+91kg) Satish Kumar of SSCB took the gold after thrashing Haryana's Parveen Kumar 5-0 by an unanimous decision.