Navy’s Bandara sparkles amid procession of no shows on opening day | Daily News

93rd BASL Clifford Cup Boxing Championship:

Navy’s Bandara sparkles amid procession of no shows on opening day

Navy’s Gayan Indika Bandara (blue) lands a left jab to the body of Army’s Raveendranath in a Fly weight bout at the BASL Clifford Cup Boxing Championship at the Royal MAS Arena on Monday. Pictures by Sulochana Gamage
Navy’s Gayan Indika Bandara (blue) lands a left jab to the body of Army’s Raveendranath in a Fly weight bout at the BASL Clifford Cup Boxing Championship at the Royal MAS Arena on Monday. Pictures by Sulochana Gamage

No shows were the order of the day on a drab opening day of the 93rd BASL Clifford Cup Championship at the Royal MAS Arena on Monday with almost half of the scheduled 31 bouts being a non-event because either the participant was absent for weigh-in or overweight, resulting in walk overs galore.

The Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) conducts three major championships annually – the Layton Cup, Clifford Cup and the Nationals. Introduced in 1927, the Clifford Cup was confined to team participation in which a team had to comprise of at least of four competitors.

However, some affiliated clubs seem to have made a mockery of this time-honoured championship, by entering several teams with the objective of securing voting rights in the BASL than developing quality boxers. In a classic case of quantity than quality, a plethora of clubs have mushroomed but their intent is questionable. The BASL should review the competition regulations by restricting participation from each club to prevent the coveted Clifford Cup being reduced to a farcical event.

In a comedy, both boxers drawn to fight in the preliminary round in three weight classes, were absent for the weigh-in with the organizers unable to strike off their names from the card, since the scrutiny of entries and draw is held the day before the competition.

As it is the standard of boxing is not something to rave about with the sport lacking star power to attract spectators. The lack of intensity was evident on the first day of competition with hardly any sparks flying to keep the audience spell bound or awe struck. Adding to the woes is the failure of the competition to commence on schedule due to lack of required number of officials, keeping the boxers waiting in suspense of whether to warm up or not for their bout.

When the action finally began, Intermediates winner Nadeeka Kumara of Army Reds had enough firepower to earn a split decision in the Light Fly (49kg) weight contest against Navy’s Kumara who was good at counter attacking but not leading the bout.

Hussain Ali Mohamed Namith, a 20-year-old product of Vidyartha College, Kandy was unlucky not to get the nod of the judges after displaying technical skill and sound ringcraft against a hard-hitting 29-year-old sailor Harsha Nalinda Gunarathna. Best Boxer at the Junior Nationals in 2018, Namith calmly outboxed his rugged rival circling the ring beautifully but Gunarathna, Best Boxer at the BASL Novices meet this year, earned a 4-1 decision perhaps for his power punching ability.

The intensity and pedestrian pace of the competition picked up a notch in the Bantam (56kg) weight class when 22-year-old Buddhika Manaram of Silueta stunned seasoned Navy fighter P.S. Kumara in the first round. Manaram, a four-time Stubbs champion from Kalyani Pradeepa Vidyayathana Pirivena in Delgoda, staggered southpaw Kumara with solid combinations in the opening minute forcing two standing ‘eight’ counts. However, Kumara fought back gamely to even dominate the second round but failed to dismantle the compact defence of Manaram.

Indonesian President’s Cup bronze medallist Gayan Indika Bandara of Navy who ate a humble pie at the Layton Cup, seems to be on the comeback trail moving up to the Fly (52kg) weight class for this championship. Bandara was in command and oozed confidence as he dominated the first two rounds with a stylish performance though Army’s Raveendranath sneaked through his water tight defence in the final round. A laid-back fighter lacking the killer aggressive instinct, Bandara was easily the better boxer though winning by a split 3-2 decision.

Results

PRELIMINARIES

Light Fly (49kg) - N. Nadeeka Kumara (Army Red) bt G.K.G.W.U. Kumara (Navy A) on points 3-2, M.H.N. Gunarathna (Navy B) bt H.A.M. Navith (Vidyartha BC) 4-1,

Bantam (56kg) - G.W.B. Manaram (Silueta) bt P.S. Kumara (Navy B) 5-0, H.I. Chamara (army C) bt K.G.K.A. Kapukotuwa (Peradeniya BC) 5-0,

Light Welter (64kg) - I.P.D.C. Udayakumara (Air Force A) bt H.A.K.R. Dewapriya (Air Force C) walk over, M.D. Danushka (Navy A) bt D.MD.C. Nilanga (Police) 4-1, R.W.M.S.B. Rajakaruna (Army A) bt R.M.S.K. Rathnayaka (Air Force B) 5-0,

Fly (52kg) - A.M.G.I. Bandara (Navy B) bt T.K.G.K. Raveendranath (Army C) 3-2, H.M.L.P. Jayawardhana (Army Archers) bt E.D.P.D. Vidyalankara (Peradeniya BC), K.G.K.M. Karunasingha (Silueta) bt M.G.S. Pushpakumara (MASS),

Light (60kg) - A.M.P.S. Adhikari (Navy A) bt D.B.A.D.D. Bandara (Army C) 4-1,

Welter (69kg) - K.A.S.B. Jayanpathi (Slimline B) bt A.D. Dinal Senehas (Vidiyal BC) walkover, W.K.M.K.G.I. Ariyarathna (Navy A) bt P.S.P.S. Fernando (Army A) 4-1, H.M.S.M. Madawattha (Police) bt J.A.D. Sampath (Army Archers) 3-2, J.A.G. Maduranka (Air Force A) bt Manul Lakshitha (Silueta)


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