2019 World Boxing Championships Watch: Amit Panghal
Star pugilist Amit Panghal is all set to spearhead the Indian boxing contingent at the upcoming Men’s World Boxing Championship 2019.
Star pugilist Amit Panghal is all set to spearhead the Indian boxing contingent at the upcoming Men’s World Boxing Championship 2019, to be held from September 7 to 21 September in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Expectations are high on the Indian boxers, given their impressive showing at this year’s India Open, Strandja Memorial and the Asian Championships. The likes of Kavinder Singh Bisht, Manish Kaushik and Satish Kumar among others, are all capable of finishing on the podium. However, it is Panghal who carries India’s biggest hopes at the big-ticket tournament.
Panghal’s rise to fame
Born in Mayna village, of Rohtak district in Haryana, Panghal was inspired to take up boxing by his elder brother. He used to accompany his elder brother for physical fitness exercises, where his uncle used to train local boxers.
Inspired by their hard work and passion, he decided to take up boxing as a career. It was Anil Dhankar, a coach based in Mayna, who recognised Panghal’s talent and started training him in Gurgaon at the Combat Boxing Club.
The young boxer first came under the limelight, when he won gold in at a state-level championship. He went on to win several accolades at the state level until 2009 when he finally made his mark at the national level by bagging a gold medal at the 25th Sub-Junior National Boxing Championship.
Right after making his debut in senior-level boxing in 2016, Panghal has had a stellar journey. He has shown large calibre and maturity, even in defeat, to come back stronger and it is this quality that makes him stand out from the rest.
Panghal had always shown promise as a young boxer, but it was in the last 12 months or so that he upped his game and made a mark at the international stage. Ever since he bagged the gold medal at the Asian Games last year, his career graph has been on the rise.
Building on his Commonwealth Games and Asian Games’ performance, Panghal made 2019 even more special. He started off by bagging the gold medal at the Strandja Memorial Tournament in February in Bulgaria before heading to the Asian Boxing Championships in April.
The 23-year-old’s overall improvement was prominent during the Asian Championships in Bangkok. Not only did he go on to bag the gold medal but also, he managed to get the better of several top boxers, the most notable among them being the 2016 Rio Olympic gold medallist Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan, on the way.
Panghal had beaten Dusmatov in Jakarta last year at the Asian Games on his way to the podium but the challenge at the Asian Championships was an altogether different one.
For the first time, he was competing in the 52kg category at the international level (Panghal had competed in the 52kg category at a three-day meet in Germany in March). He was touted against an opponent, who had met him four times already and knew all his strengths and weaknesses.
But the Haryana-born boxer prevailed with his swift uppercuts and jabs. His footwork had also visibly improved, which helped him avoid Dusmatov’s long-range throws. The win boosted his confidence so much that he would go on to claim the gold medal.
Panghal followed up the Asian Championships performance with yet another gold medal in his new weight category at the India Open in Guwahati.
Odds of winning a medal
The Indian pugilist’s form going into the World Championships has been near perfect and many expect him to deliver the goods in Russia as well. However, it is easier said than done.
Panghal has dominated the Asian level but the upcoming event will be his first big test at the world level. In the 52kg category, the American and Cuban boxers are formidable, and so are some of the European boxers.
Given his recent form and the competition, it is likely that Panghal will claim a medal. The question is what colour the medal will be.