Asian boxing heavyweights, India, will go head to head with the gutsy Sri Lankans in the Dual Championships on Saturday (Sept. 4) at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium .
The dual coincides with both nations’ preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in India in October. It also marks the fifth International Dual organised by the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) of Sri Lanka, following the successes of similar duals with Philippines, Vietnam, Tanzania and Russia in the recent past.
“The International Dual concept has proven to be a great success for the ABA over the years. Not only does it provide an opportunity for our boxers to gain some valuable international experience, it also acts as a platform to showcase high quality boxing talent on home ground, helping us to popularize boxing among the masses in Sri Lanka,” commented President, ABA, Retd DIG Rohan Abeywardene, expressing his views on the tournament platform.
“India has always been supportive in the cause of developing Sri Lankan boxing and they are also one of the top teams going around in the international circuit. It was a long overdue invitation from our end and we are glad that they agreed to partner us in this year’s edition of the ABA Dual Championship”, concluded Abeywardene.
The Indian boxing juggernaut has been building momentum over the past few years, notching up several top international medals including a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Sri Lankans in contrast have experienced mixed results since the retirement of golden boy Anuruddha Ratnayake, with some of the newer faces struggling to make a significant impact on the international stage.
The Dual Championship against India is seen as an acid test for the younger Sri Lankan brigade preparing them for some of the bigger challenges that lie ahead. “India has provided a benchmark for us to follow in developing South Asian boxing to be world class. They’ll be tough opponents at the dual but I think it’ll be a great opportunity for our team to get some great battle experience ahead of the Commonwealth Games in October”, opined Dian Gomes, former President of the ABA, commenting on his views on the upcoming dual.
The Indians will prove to be a tough challenge, albeit the absence of some of their star names such as Akhil Kumar and Vijender Singh who have opted out to focus on their preparations for the Commonwealth Games. The Sri Lankans on the other hand will be full strength with the likes of Kamal Sameera (56kg) & Manju Wanniarachchi (60kg) hungry for more international success. An added attraction of this Dual Championship will be the Women’s Boxing Segment, which will feature three bouts prior to the men’s events. Sri Lanka will be sans its stars Anusha Kodituwakku and Nilmini Jayasinghe who are in Barbados to compete in the World Championships with a view of gaining Olympic Qualification for London 2012.
The teams will vie for the A&E Challenge Trophy, sponsored by American & Efird, premier sponsors of Sri Lankan Boxing for five consecutive years running. In order to make the event accessible to a larger audience, the ABA has decided to waive off admission fees.
Sri Lanka vs India Dual Boxing Championship – Fight line up will be as follows.
Chaminda Tennakoon (SRI) vs M. Mahadevan (IND) – 49kg
Dissanayake Samarasekara (SRI) vs S.F. Harijan (IND) – 52kg
Manju Wanniarachchi (SRI) vs M.B. Lakra (IND) – 56kg
Kamal Sameera (SRI) vs V. Malik (IND) – 60kg
48kg – Will be selected from Layton Cup meet on 1st September
51kg – Will be selected from Layton Cup meet on 1st September
60kg – Niranjala Senanayake