Army’s Rajakaruna scored the biggest upset in the 94th National Boxing Championships organized by the Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) at the Royal MAS Arena when he earned a split decision against unbeaten Sri Lanka pugilist Dinidu Saparamadu in the Light Welter (64kg) weight final on Saturday. However, young Police boxer Rukmal Prasanna and [...]


Army’s Rajakaruna stuns unbeaten Saparamadu

Police's Prasanna and Vidyarathane's Pushpakumari adjudged Best Boxers

Army’s Rajakaruna scored the biggest upset in the 94th National Boxing Championships organized by the Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) at the Royal MAS Arena when he earned a split decision against unbeaten Sri Lanka pugilist Dinidu Saparamadu in the Light Welter (64kg) weight final on Saturday.

W.K.M.K.G.I. Ariyarathna (Red) of Navy SC throws an underarm blow on M.D. Pushpakumara of Air Force SC in the Men's Middleweight 75kg final bout - Pic by Amila Gamage

However, young Police boxer Rukmal Prasanna and Nadeeka Pushpakumari of Viyarathane SC stole the limelight being adjudged the most scientific boxers in the 2019 Nationals which also served as a selection meet for three international competitions in Hungary, France and Thailand as pre-preparation for the World Olympic Qualifying tournament in France in May 2020, according to the BASL.

The four-day championships which attracted over 100 entries from 21 clubs saw the standards vacillating from sublime and high-octane fighting in the finals from mostly ridiculously mediocre boring spectacles in the early rounds, also featured a technical delegate from Singapore, and international referees from Korea, Indonesia, Chinese Taipei and Singapore officiating to maintain the highest neutrality during the tournament.

“The standard of boxing is below zero. This is the Nationals. There is no technical such as parrying, slipping or sidestep. I am ashamed to be watching this,” lamented a former veteran boxer and coach W.R.M. Vincent who actually walked out wailing in disgust in the first three days of the meet.

The men’s finals managed to produce some fireworks with Slimline’s Niel Hettiarachchi and Army’s V. Niklas featuring in a rousing Welter (69kg) weight clash. Niklas appeared to land the more solid blows and was the aggressor with referee having a difficult time separating the two fighters even after the bell sounded, but was at the receiving end of a 3-2 split decision.

Fly (52kg) weight champion Lasindu Eranda of Slimline whipped right crosses to stun Air Force’s Madushan forcing standing ‘eight’ counts twice in two rounds forcing a stoppage under medical advice in round three. Madushan was consoled with the Best Loser’s award.  Saparamadu appeared to be as elusive as ever weaving and swaying back before landing calculated blows on Rajakaruna who got the nod of the judges to the surprise of aficionados of the sport.

“I am not happy with the decision. I was confident that I won,” said a disappointed Saparamadu after suffering his first defeat at home and South Asian Games bronze medallist.

“I have been waiting for year to beat him. I always lose to him in the finals after close encounters,” said Sanjeewa Bandara Rajakaruna, 28, attached to Military Police, a top product of Peradeniya MMV.

“Boxing was the overall winner. I am thankful for the Boxing Association for bringing in foreign officials to judge. As soldiers we are proud to be overall champions,” said Army head coach Sampath Jayathilaka after they were adjudged the most successful men’s team of the year. Unichela was declared the best overall women’s team.

Podiarachchige Rukmal Prasanna, 20, a past pupil of Gamini Central, Ingiriya a former Sri Lanka youth international, won his maiden national title and the Best Boxer award after winning a classic southpaw battle against Slimline’s Amarawansha by a unanimous points decision.

Nadeeka Ranasinghe Pushpakumari, 28, was adjudged women’s Best Boxer for the second consecutive time at the Nationals, and SAG bronze medallist, defeated Ranasinghe of Unichela in the Light Fly (48kg) weight contest. Ranasinghe was declared the Best Loser.

Nadeeka’s coach Amila Aravinda said local officials can benefit from the presence of foreign judges.

Boxing Referee and Judges Association president R.K. Indrasena welcome the presence of foreign officials at the Nationals for the third time.

“There was transparency but we also have more experienced international officials,” he said.

International technical official Syed Abdul Kadir from Singapore said local officials could improve by participating in more competition.

“The standard was good and there is a lot of potential,” said Kadir, a 10-time national champion and SEA Games gold medallist who represented Singapore at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

Sri Lanka top international official Udeni Kiridena who serves as Referee/Judge Evaluator and also national selector said the main objective of bringing foreign officials was to uplift the standard of officiating.

“I don’t care who he is or what position or standing he has, I will tell where he went wrong and what not. If we are to uplift the standards, we have to be critical and tell them this is where you are going wrong, and according to the new laws this is how it should be – having total control of the bout and all that,” he said of his role as evaluator.

“Problem is certain (local) judges are on the fence. Now when we put the senior ones along with them, they also know they have to be cautious, that we are monitoring and we tell them as evaluator and show them see the scoring system, where you are and where the internationals are. They don’t know whether Army, Navy, Air Force of Slimline boxer won. They give the correct judgement. That is what is required. Otherwise our guys when he is getting into the ring, he knows he is the national champion,” he said.

Asked about the standard of boxing, he said: “Some bouts were good, not all. There are good boxers. With proper fine-tuning we can get a good fantastic team in time to come. Being in the selection committee, our main idea is to select the best boxer to represent the country and bring honour. If the wrong person goes through then the whole purpose is lost.”


  •  Super Heavy weight (91+kg): A.R.B.E. Thilakarathna (Army) bt A.M.I.H. Abeysinghe (Slimline) on points 3:2, Bronze medals: M.W.M.M. Meegasthanna (Air Force) & S.M.K.G. Senanayake (Wennappuwa BC);
  •  Light Heavy (81kg): W.A.R. Sandakelum (Army) bt H.M.P.M. Silva (Air Force) 5:0, Bronze medals: G.M.T. Akmal (Gamini Central BC) & P.S.P. Deshapriya (Navy);
  •  Welter (69kg): H.N.M. Hettiarachchi (Slimline) bt V. Niklas (Army) 3:1; Bronze medals: L D.L.P.R. Kumara (Navy) & H.S.H. Madawaththa (Police);
  •  Light (60kg): N.B.A.J. Wimukthi Kumara (Army) bt M.R. Sadaruwan (Slimline) 5:0, Bronze medals:

H.M.K.C. Ekanayaka (Gamini Central BC) & A.M.P.S. Adhikari (Navy);

  •  Fly (52kg): K.V.L. Eranda (Slimline) bt P.G.E. Madushan (Air Force) RSC; Bronze medals: M.V.I.R.S. Bandara (Army0 & S.M.K.S. Bandara (Gamini Central BC);
  •  Heavy (91kg): G.G.D.A. Gunasekera (Slimline) bt B.N.S. Sampath (Navy) 5:0, Bronze medals: I.D.D.S.W. Widyarathna (Army) & W.A. Madusha Sadaruwan (St. John’s BC);
  •  Middle (75kg): W.K.M.K.G.I. Ariyarathna (Navy) bt H.W.G.P. Rathnasiri (Police) 5:0, Bronze medals: M.D. Pushpakumara (Air Force) & H.A.S.N. Heelbathdeniya (Slimline);
  •  Light Welter (64kg): R.W.M.S.B. Rajakaruna (Army) bt P.V.D.D. Saparamadu (Slimline) 3:2, Bronze medals: I.P.D.C. Udayakumara (Air Force) & N.H. Thilakarathna (Navy);
  •  Bantam (56kg): P.A.R. Prasanna (Police) bt U.N.K. Amarawansha (Slimline) 5:0, Bronze medals: W.R.T. Weerakkodi (Army) & N.M.P. de Silva (Navy);
  •  Light Fly (49kg): M.P.G. Sajeewa Nuwan (Army) bt N. Jinadasa (Slimline) 4:0, Bronze medal: N.M. Navith (Vidyartha BC)


  •  Light Fly (48kg): R.A.N. Pushpakumara (Vidyarathena SC) bt R.K.A.A. Ranasinghe (Unichela), Bronze medals: E. Kirshnaraani (Uphill) & A.H.N.K. Nadeeshani (Gandara BC);
  •  Fly (51kg): A.A.K. Nilmini (Unichela) bt K. Inthugadevi (Uphill), Bronze medals: S.H. Jayasekera (Narandeniya BC) & H.S. Priyadarshani (Army);
  •  Bantam (54kg): M.P.S.S. Cooray (Air Force) bt W.S.P. Rathnayake (Police), Bronze medals: M.G.M.T. Dasunika (Army) & H.N.S. Thalgaspitiya (Unichela);
  •  Feather (75kg): K.A.D. Dharmathilaka (Unichela) bt K.A.D. Himashi (Narandeniya BC), Bronze medals: M.S.S. Silva (KDU) & L.G. Chandrika (Army);
  •  Light (60kg): K.A.K. Hansika (Unichela) bt P.A.H.C. Pasyala (Air Force), Bronze medals: W.W.A.K. Fernando (KDU) & E.M.N.L. Udayakumari (St Luke’s BC);
  •  Light Welter (64kg): B.D.R. Mendis (KDU) bt W.W.A.K. Thiwanka (Air Force), Bronze medals: S.H.K. Perera (Police) & K.V.I.M. de Silva (Gandara BC);
  •  Welter (69kg): A.W.A.K.N. Sandruwani (Police) bt T.D.S. Rashmika (KDU), Bronze medal: Sithari Sandareka (Gandara BC);
  •  Middle (75kg): I.W.S.S. Chandrasekera (Unichela) bt P.U. Jayasuriya (Police); Bronze medals: S.D. Mohotti (Naradeniya BC) & R.M. Shalika (Gandara BC);
  •  Heavy (81kg): G.D.M.H. Jayadewa (Unichela BC) bt M.P.H.M. Jayawardana (Unichela BC), Bronze medal: T.N. Dharmasena (Gandara BC);
  •  Super Heavy (81+kg): K.A.G.N. Kaluarachchi (Air Force) bt T.B.C.S.M. Bandara (Police), Bronze medal: N.N.H. Kawmini (Gandara BC)

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