इंडियन आवाज़     25 Sep 2023 06:25:07      انڈین آواز

Boxing: Amit first Indian to be in AIBA Men’s World Championships final, Manish settles for bronze

Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi

Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) scripted a new chapter by becoming the first Indian boxer to reach the final of AIBA Men’s World Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia on Friday. His compatriot Manish Kaushik (63kg), however, lost his semi-final and had to settle for the bronze.

Uzbekistan’s reigning Olympic gold medallist Shakhobidin Zoirov now stands between Panghal and the highly-coveted gold medal on Saturday.

Thanks to their medal-winning efforts, Amit Panghal and Manish Kaushik have now also been assured of a berth in the Indian squad for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers scheduled to be held in China in February next year. Their respective weight categories have been exempted from selection trials.

Previously four Indian pugilists including Vijender Singh, Vikas Krishan, Shiva Thapa and Gaurav Bidhuri have medalled at this prestigious tournament. However, none of them could secure a medal better than a bronze.

Amit 3-2 win over Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov in the semis has ensured that he gets at least a silver medal. This is also the first time more than one Indian boxer will be on the podium at a single edition of the World Championships.

Amit, who has been in terrific form as evidenced by his gold medals at the Asian Championships and the Asian Games, took a cautious approach to start his semi-final. His speed and footwork were spot on as he managed to evade his opponent’s punches several times before freeing himself up to land a few of his own towards the end of the opening round.

While the Indian dominated the proceedings in the second round, Panghal’s determination and composure under pressure are what gifted him the win in a highly competitive final round.“My bout was really good. I think I had to put in more effort than what I expected,” admitted Amit after the win.

“I want to thank all the Indians and fellow boxers for supporting me. It is a huge achievement for Indian boxing and I will do my level best to win gold for my country,” he added.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Manish Kaushik’s brilliant run at his first World Championships came to an end at the hands of reigning world champion and top seed Andy Cruz Gomes of Cuba, where the Indian lost 0-5.

This gave the 25-year-old Kaushik his first-ever medal from the World Championships.

“I gave my best but there were a few shortcomings due to which I lost. I will work on these shortcomings and make sure that I work hard to win gold in the Asia Oceania qualifiers to earn Olympic quota for my country,” said Kaushik.

“I’m really happy that I won the bronze medal in my first World Championships. The experience of winning 4 bouts here will help me,” he added.

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