Amit Panghal: My career's biggest medal

Updated: Sep 22, 2019, 10:55 IST | PTI | Ekaterinburg

India boxer Amit Panghal settles for silver after defeat to Uzbek's Zoirov in final; vows to return stronger

India's Amit Panghal (left) battles with Uzbekistan's Shakhobidin Zoirov during the 52kg final at the World Championships on Saturday
India's Amit Panghal (left) battles with Uzbekistan's Shakhobidin Zoirov during the 52kg final at the World Championships on Saturday

Ekaterinburg (Russia): Indian boxer Amit Panghal's phenomenal campaign in the men's world championships ended with a silver medal after he went down to Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in an intense 52kg category final here on Saturday. Panghal lost 0-5 but the scoreline was hardly a reflection of the fight he put on against the more fancied Zoirov.

Lack of power

"I think I lacked a bit of power in my punches today, I will work on it. Zoirov has been in this weight for longer time than me, that helped him today," Panghal said. "Nonetheless, it is the biggest medal of my career, I dedicate this to my country," he added. In the course of his stupendous run, the second-seeded Indian became the first male boxer from the country to finish second in the world event. The nation achieved its best-ever medal haul of two. Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kaushik (63kg) had signed off with a bronze after losing in the semifinals earlier.

Once again up against a taller and more muscular opponent, Panghal gave it his all but fell short when it came to connecting accurately. The Asian Games and Asian Championships gold-medallist nonetheless achieved a historic feat.In a bout that was mostly about counter-attack, both Panghal and Zoirov were wary of each other in the opening three minutes.

Panghal
Amit Panghal with his silver medal

The action picked up a bit in the second round and Panghal tried hard to capitalize on his rival's low guard. However, in Zoirov, Panghal met his match in pace and the Uzbek had no trouble dodging Panghal's lunging efforts. The final round was when the two boxers decided to attack each other more intensely and even though Panghal was more aggressive, it was Zoirov who managed to land more scoring blows.

"I am sure I am going to beat him the next time we square off. There are a few shortcomings in my game, I will ensure they are taken care of next time," he said.

Aggression required

"He could have performed a lot better than what he did. He just needed to be a shade more aggressive and throw more punches. That alone would have been enough because the other guy wasn't exactly a power-hitter," added national coach CA Kuttappa. The silver here marks a new high for the boxer from Rohtak, who has been simply unstoppable since breaking into the national scene with a bronze in the 2017 Asian Championships.

Zoirov, despite being unseeded here, was always going to be a tough challenge as he also has to his credit silver medals in the Asian Games and the Asian Championships.

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