The Panghal family resides in Mayna – a nondescript hamlet in Haryana’s Rohtak district – one that has overnight turned into a preferred destination for villagers to drop by, after Amit Panghal made the country proud becoming the first Indian men’s boxer to win a silver medal at the AIBA World Boxing Championship in Russia after losing a tight final bout to Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov.
Amit’s phenomenal effort in the ring has catapulted the Panghal menage into the limelight – ever since the 23-year-old pugilist from the Indian Army cornered glory in Russia, there has been a steady stream of visitors to his house. Amit’s father, Vijender Singh Panghal, who is a farmer said:
The Panghal senior insists Amit’s remarkable effort can be attributed to his dogged determination. “He is a very disciplined boy. The media is talking a lot about my son, but only we know how much hard work Amit has put in to win this medal. Training regularly, staying disciplined and focussed and maintaining one’s diet is never easy – Amit has got that single-minded focus towards boxing that helped him scale new heights in the ring.”
Amit’s mother Usha Rani recalls how her son used to skip meals just to ensure he was not overweight. “Boxing is a sport in which maintaining your weight is so crucial. There are times when Amit comes home for a few days from a national camp or international trip and insists on not having his meal as he was worried about augmenting his weight.”
Boxing was of course, was Amit’s first love, but as his mother pointed out the boxer has a few things he relishes. “Amit is very fond of Kheer, Malai and Khurma but stays away from oily food but eats the right way.”
The Haryana youngster, who is a Naik Subedar in the Indian Army, got his first boxing lessons from Rohtak-based coach Anil Dhankar. “I still remember Amit first training with me probably at the age of 12 when he was the seventh standard. He is a very focused lad, only wanting to box and nothing else. I coached him from 2012 to 2016 and fine-tuned him so that he was ready to win the senior nationals gold at Guwahati in 2016,” says Dhankar, who himself was a decent boxer, who had featured in various state-level championships from 1993 to 1998.
Amit’s first coach has no doubts that his ward did not deserve to lose the final bout against to Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov as the final 5-0 scoreline suggested. Dhankar says:
The first coach of Amit is bullish about the fact that Amit will sort out Shakhobidin Zoirov sooner than later. “Amit is an intelligent boxer and keep working on his shortfalls. Look at Hasanboy Dusmatov, Amit had lost to him twice (once at the 2017 World Championship quarterfinals in Germany) but exacted sweet revenge outboxing him to win the 2018 Asiad gold and again beating him at the Asian Championship this year. I’m sure Amit will have his game ready and conquer Zoirov not just in the upcoming Olympic qualifiers but also in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Dhankar talked glowingly about his ward’s mental toughness and ability to keep pushing the performance bar.