It was simply a Royal performance by our boxers at the 100th Stubbs Shield meet held at the Royal MAS Arena, from 7th to 10th October 2017. Having trained under Head Coach, Ibunu Abdulla, six of the eight member team were able to qualify for the finals. At the finals, four boxers won their weight classes and ended up winning Gold Medals, while the other two ended up with Silver Medals. The 2016 Royal College Captain, U. M. B. Niranjana was adjudged Best Boxer of the meet. Principal of Royal College, Mr. B A. Abeyrathna, handed over the Shield. The Teachers in charge of Boxing, Mr. Janaka Atulugama and Mrs. A. D. S. de Silva and the Senior Games Master, Mr. Riyaz Aluher were also present, along with members of the Royal College Union – Boxing Advisory & Management Committee Members.
52 Kg Weight Class – M. M. A. Ahamed won a Gold Medal
56 Kg Weight Class – U. M. B. Niranjana won a Gold Medal
56 Kg Weight Class – H. V. D. Hettiarachchi won a Gold Medal (Youth)
75 Kg Weight Class – P. Samarasinghe won a Gold Medal (Youth)
60 Kg Weight Class – M. A. M. Aseen won a Silver Medal (Youth)
64 Kg weight Class – V. Attygalle won a Silver Medal (Youth)
49 Kg Weight Class – R. A. Altaf won a Bronze Medal (Youth)
52Kg Weight Class – M. I. M. Ishaq won a Bronze Medal (Youth)
The team Captain, M. A. Ahamed thanked the Event Organizers, Referees & Judges, The Principal of Royal College, Senior Games Master and the Teachers in charge, President of the ABA Mr. Dian Gomes and all ABA Ex-co Members, Secretary and members of the Royal College Union and the RCU – Boxing Advisory and Management Committee, the members of the Royal Boxing Club, Past and Present Boys of Royal College, who supported the team and to all the academic staff at the College, saying “If not for all of you this achievement wouldn’t have been possible – after a hiatus of 30 years.”
A brief History of Royal College Boxing – Courtesy of Mr. Priantha Malavi (Immediate Past Chairman RCU – Boxing Advisory and Management Committee)
The first Ceylonese and the first Royalist to make headway in boxing overseas was Donald Obeyesekere. He fought his way to victory at Cambridge at the turn of the 19th century, way back in 1898. On his return to Ceylon, his set resolve was to further the cause of boxing, which is an art of self-defence in schools, and Royal became one of the chief beneficiaries. To remedy the dearth of organised sports, boxing was introduced to Royal in 1913.
The Principal then, was Mr. Charles Hartley. A challenge shield was presented for the inter-house boxing champions in 1919 by Mr. Donald Obeyesekere and this gave Royal a head-start over most other schools. Mr. L. Mac D Robison, a Director of Education also assisted in training the boys. The son of the Bishop of Oxford, Sir R. E. Stubbs, when serving as the Colonial Secretary of Ceylon, bestowed a thrust to boxing, that is still very much alive, by presenting the Stubbs Shield, for competition among schools in 1914, making them veritable nurseries of the noble art. It could be said of Donald Obeyesekere, that he lit the torch of boxing at Royal, which was ably carried on by his son, Danton, for 55 years!
This is best illustrated by the fact that Royal has participated in every Stubbs Shield meet since its inception in 1914, except in the years 1999 and 2010.
Danton Obeyesekere was the first Royalist to win the Best Boxer’s Cup at the Stubbs Shield in 1925 and later became the first Asian to captain Cambridge University in any sport, in 1928.
The other Cambridge ‘Blues’ were Steve Dassanayake, Frederick Obeyesekere, Cedric de Soysa and Ponnambalam Rajendram, whilst Chris de Saram captained Oxford University.
A. W. Henricus won a gold medal for the country at the Empire Games in Sydney, Australia in 1938, whilst A. I. Obeyesekere won a bronze medal at the Empire Games in Auckland, New Zealand in 1948.
E. I. Gray and A. I. Obeyesekere represented the country at the Olympic Games in London, England in 1948, while B. C. Henricus did so at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, in 1952.
M. A. Jayalath represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Games in New Delhi, India in 1982.
Danton Obeyesekere, Eddie Gray and Maj.Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya have had the distinction of qualifying as AIBA Referee/Judges.
Royal emerged champions at the Stubbs Shield meet for the first time in 1935 during the centenary year of the College, two years after Danton Obeyesekere had begun coaching the Royal team. Royal’s boxing struck a purple patch during the 1940’s (1944-47) and the 1980’s (1984-87), to set up a series record of four consecutive wins. This record was subsequently broken by Vidyartha College- Kandy, who won for seven consecutive years. (1991-97).
Royal still holds the record for the most number of wins in the Stubbs Shield series with 18 (now 19) wins. The most number of individual wins recorded in the Stubbs Shield series were by A. B. Henricus(7), F. I. T. Labrooy(6), H. Bandara (6), S. B. Samaratunge (5), H. Ousman (5) and M. M. A. Nisthar (5).
Royal has also won the Phelps Memorial Trophy at the A. B. A. Junior Championships on four occasions, the T. B. Jayah Memorial Challenge Cup for Novices on six occasions and the L. V. Jayaweera Challenge Cup for the Freshers, once.
D. V. Boderagama has been the only Royalist to win a National title as a schoolboy, when he won the Fly weight in 1946, at the age of 17.