Latest News on Amit Panghal Boxer Biography, Profile, Photos and Videos
Justnewsday.com takes a quick look at boxing star Amit Panghal’s performances over the past two years, and charts his journey towards securing Olympic qualification.
Editor’s Note: For five years now, Indian athletes have been dreaming to make up for the disappointment of a two-medal haul in Rio. The span has been extraordinary, with COVID-19 having thrown their preparations – and the Olympics itself – off gear. However, in true Olympic spirit, the country’s finest sportspersons have battled form and uncertainty to put their best foot forward in what promises to be a Games like none other. In our latest series, we track the last two years’ performances of our athletes to give you a ready guide to their form leading into the biggest sporting spectacle of the world.
Ever since he burst onto the national scene with a bronze in the 2017 Asian Boxing Championships, Panghal has been a consistent performer. The same year, the Haryana lad made it to the quarter-finals of his debut World Championships. In 2018, he bagged gold medals at the prestigious Strandja Cup and Asian Games.
Shift to 52kg weight class
Panghal moved to the 52kg category in 2019 as AIBA dropped the 49kg class for the Olympics. Entering the Asian Boxing Championships on the back of a gold at the Strandja Memorial Tournament, the Indian claimed another gold, beating Korea’s Kim Inkyu in a unanimous decision (5-0).
On a medal winning spree, Panghal added another feather to his cap by becoming the first Indian male pugilist to claim a silver at the World Boxing Championships in 2019. He lost to Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov by 0-5. In the semi-finals, he had beaten Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov 3-2.
Securing Olympic quota
In March 2020, at the Asian Olympic qualifiers, the world silver medallist thrashed Carlo Paalam of Philippines in a 4-1 split verdict, thereby advancing to the semi-finals of the tournament and more importantly, securing an Olympic quota. In the past too, Panghal had got the better of Paalam in the semi-finals of the 2018 Asian Games and the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Championships, both being split decisions.
However, the Indian pugilist, who will be making his maiden Olympic appearance, settled for bronze after going down to China’s Jianguan Hu in a split 3-2 decision. It was revenge for the Chinese, who had lost to Panghal in the Asian Championships semi-final in 2019.
Panghal continued his fine run at the Cologne World Cup in Germany, bagging the gold after he received a walkover against his German opponent Argishti Terteryan. He had stormed into the final with a commanding win over Billal Bennama, the 2019 World Championships bronze medallist, winning the bout by a clean 5-0 margin.
The Zoirov jinx
In the Governor’s Cup in April 2021, the Indian advanced to the semi-finals with a 5-0 win over Russia’s Tamir Galanov. But he settled for a bronze after losing 5-0 to familiar foe Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan. The Indian had earlier lost to the Uzbek boxer, who is also Tokyo bound, in the 2019 World Championships final.
At the Asian Boxing Championships in May 2021, which was also his final competitive tournament ahead of Games, Panghal made the final but settled for silver, suffering his third consecutive loss against Zoirov, the reigning Olympics champion.
Panghal suffered a narrow 2-3 defeat with 29-28, 28-29, 28-29, 28-29, 30-27 scoreline. India also protested after his loss but it was rejected by the jury in Dubai.
Nevertheless, the Indian will be high on confidence as he enters the Games as the World No 1 in the flyweight 52 kg category.
Click here to check out form guides for the rest of the Indian contingent at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
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