Army boxers knock-down Slimline’s dominance | Sunday Observer

Army boxers knock-down Slimline’s dominance

Air Force women’s boxer WAK  Thiwanka (red) and Heshani Perera (Thuruli) exchange punches during their Light Welter (64kg) weight final at the Clifford Cup Boxing Championships at the Royal MAS Arena on Friday night. Thiwanka won the bout (Picture by Shan Rambukwella)
Air Force women’s boxer WAK Thiwanka (red) and Heshani Perera (Thuruli) exchange punches during their Light Welter (64kg) weight final at the Clifford Cup Boxing Championships at the Royal MAS Arena on Friday night. Thiwanka won the bout (Picture by Shan Rambukwella)

Unichela prevail in women’s division producing seven winners. Sajeewa Nuwan shows he is star class as Army regain Clifford Cup after eight years

Army pugilists produced a power-packed performance to break Slimline’s stranglehold in the ring and come through as overall champions after eight years with resounding victories in the finals of the 93rd BASL Clifford Cup Championship at the Royal MAS Arena on Friday night.

Unichela maintained their supremacy in the women’s division producing seven winners out of the 10 weight classes suffering just one defeat at the hands of Police while Sri Lanka’s new find Purnima Jayasooriya charged around the ring like a raging bull to defeat her lanky rival Chandrasekera to win the Middle (75kg) weight title.

Army fielding four teams succeeded in their multi-pronged offensive to lay their hands on the coveted Clifford Cup awarded to the champion team for the first time since 2011, producing six winners out of the 10 weight classes losing only to Slimline and Sri Lanka’s most experienced campaigner Dushan Dinidu Saparamadu in the finals.

Navy were joint second with Slimline having two winners and three runners-up each while Army sealed their ascendancy in the sport with their Light Fly (49kg) weight champion MPG Sajeewa Nuwan giving a boxing masterclass to promising youngster WA Ishanka Sanjaya of Slimline to be adjudged the Best Boxer of the championship.

Unichela’s Fly (48kg) weight champion Kosala Nilmini stamped her class outgunning plucky soldier H.S. Priyadarshani to be adjudged the Best Boxer in the women’s division while Harshani Nisansala Sewwandi Thalgaspitiya prevailed over five-time national Bantam (54kg) weight champion Sajeewani Cooray of Air Force for the second consecutive time this year in a scrappy encounter. Unichela’s Krishmi Ayomi Dharmathilaka displayed sound ringcraft to outpoint veteran Army fighter Chandrika in the Feather (57kg) weight

Significantly, Slimline suffered reversals in the three lower weight classes, with Indonesian President’s Cup bronze medallist Gayan Indika Bandara of Navy regaining his form to defeat Lasindu Eranda in the Fly (52kg) weight final in the last bout of the evening.

Army won two out three direct duels against Slimline quite emphatically after Rajakaruna suffered a split 3-2 decision in the Light Welter (64k) final against southpaw Saparamadu, who had trouble fending off the rushes of his aggressive adversary. Rajakaruna managed to sneak through the water-tight defence of Saparamadu who countered with right hooks and used his elasticity and nimble footwork to edge out his rival.

Knock-out specialist Weerakkody whose short and squatty frame resembles that of former world heavyweight champion George Foreman in his prime, lived up to his billing stunning ‘Super Fighter’ Nuwan Amarawansha in the Bantam (56kg) weight final.

Weerakkody, 31, floored the 23-year-old former Peradeniya MMV star with a perfectly timed left hook and dazed him with a bone-jarring right-cross in the opening minute but instead of going for the kill started to play around. Amarawansha regained his composure but either due to a clash of heads or punches, started bleeding profusely from his left eyebrow and a head cut on the left side in the second round. Ringside physician Tharanga Aruggoda stopped the contest after two minutes after international referee Nelka Shiromala referred Amarawansha to the doctor on four occasions. Weerakkody was the declared the winner for being ahead on points upto the time of injury.

After the two exhilarating bouts, Army’s Sajeewa Nuwan served a delightful exhibition of technical excellence and ring mastery rarely seen in this age of ‘Mad Max’ style of boxing. The 27-year-old Corporal attached to the Armoured Corps showed that the sweet science of boxing is not a lost art. The Layton Cup Best Boxer displayed his vast repertoire of skills and tactical nous to outpoint Slimline’s Ishanka Sanjaya. After calmly edging out his rival in a cagey opening round fighting in close range, Nuwan began the second round with precision one-two jabs to rattle his opponent.

Sanjaya was giving as much as he got but it was Nuwan who dictated the pace and pattern of contest, moving stealthily and never letting his rival get out of his punching range. The final round saw Nuwan scoring body blows and boxing from a distance to virtually outclass his opponent though the verdict was surprisingly split.

Boxing Association of Sri Lanka president Dian Gomes, a member of AIBA and ASBC Women’s Commission and Executive Committee member of the Asian Boxing Confederation was the chief guest.