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Boxing News - Sri Lanka

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Heelbathdeniya Named Best Boxer at the Clifford Cup



Sri Lanka's 22-year-old new great hope, Arachchilage Samith Nalinga Heelbathdeniya, was named as best boxer at the annual and traditional Clifford Cup which was held earlier this month in the capital city of the South Asian country, Colombo.

The 83rd Clifford Cup was held for men and women boxers at the Sugathadasa National Indoor Stadium. The event was postponed to January due to last year's Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, which were held in October and in November.

The tournament was open to winners and silver medalists from the Stubbs Shield Championships, Sri Lankan Novice, Intermediate and Junior National Championships. Boxers born between 1977-1994 were eligible to compete.

The best Sri Lankan clubs, the Armed Forces (Air Force, Army and Navy) competed with their top boxers, while Slimline, The Police, Unichela, Silverline, Vidyarathana, Kingswood and MAS Southern BC also took part.

Altogether 176 boxers competed at the tournament, with 132 men and 44 women competing for the medals in Colombo.

Asian Junior Championships bronze medalist S.N. Heelbathdeniya from the Slimline Boxing Club was awarded the H.K. Karunaratne Memorial Trophy in Colombo when he triumphed over experienced boxer and Navy team captain Sisira Kumarasinghe in the light welterweight division. Heelbathdeniya has been boxing since 2000 and may be included Sri Lanka's World Championships team this year.

A.P.G. Chandra Kumara also put in an excellent performance in Colombo, defeating Jayasundara Kela Koralalage in the welterweight division. Inexperienced Mailawa Divaratne surprisingly won over Sri Lanka's national middleweight member, Ranil Tharanga Jayathilake by 11:7.

Newcomer W. Lahiru Sadum triumphed over veteran and multiple National Champion Mohamed Ismail Hansar in the super heavyweight final. A.A.K. Nilmini from the MAS Southern BC became the best female boxer in the Clifford Cup after beating D.A Jayasinghe in the women's light flyweight class.

Retired DIG of Police and former Sri Lankan National Boxing Champion Mr. Munidasa Gomes was the special guest of the finals. The Navy team secured the first place as top squad and the Army team finished runners-up.

Photo Source: Hemantha Weerasinghe

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