World Boxing Championships: Amit Panghal creates history, becomes first Indian male boxer to reach final

World Boxing Championships: Amit Panghal creates history, becomes first Indian male boxer to reach final

India’s Amit Panghal has created history by becoming the first Indian male boxer to reach the final of AIBA World Boxing Championships. Panghal has assured himself of at least a silver medal after defeating Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov by split decision (3-2) in the 52kg semi-final on Friday in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Amit Panghal, the Asian Games gold medallist, has thus surpassed World Championships bronze medalists of the likes of Vijender Singh, Vikas Krishan, Shiva Thapa and Gaurav Bidhuri after becoming the first Indian male boxer to breach the semi-final barrier.

Amit Panghal showed a lot of class as he took his time in the first round before landing some crucial punches. Panghal was quick-footed as he swayed away from punches and landed a few fine left jabs. As the bout entered the 2nd round, Panghal started dominating and put pressure on his Kazak opponent Bibossinov. While Bibossinov fought back in the 3rd round, Panghal kept his cool and prevailed 3-2 in the exhausting bout.

Meanwhile, Manish Kaushik lost the 63kg semi-final bout to former world champion and top-seeded Cuban Andy Cruz Gomes by unanimous decision (5-0) in Ekaterinburg. Manish thus became only the sixth Indian male boxer to medal at the World Championships.

Amit Panghal and Manish Kaushik helped India create history at the ongoing World Championships when they had reached the semi-final as India had not won more than a single bronze medal at a single edition of the world meet.

Amit Panghal will face Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, in the final on Saturday in Ekaterinburg.

Panghal has been one of India’s most consistent boxers in the recent past.Ever since Panghal went on to win the bronze at Asian Championships in 2017, the 23-year-old has been on an upward trajectory.

Panghal won the Asian Games gold medal in 2018, months after winning the silver medal in Commonwealth Games. Panghal warmed up to the World Championships this year with a gold at the Asian Championships in April 2019.

Panghal, Manish seal berths in Olympic qualifiers

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) had made it clear that boxers who win medals at the World Championships will be automatic picks for the Olympic qualifiers scheduled in February in China.

“Yes, Amit and Manish will be going to the qualifiers. There will not be any trials in their weight categories now,” Indian Boxing’s High-Performance Director Santiago Nieva told PTI.

The rest of the squad will be picked on the basis of camp performance, points accumulated at international events and in some cases, trials.

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