India's Sanjeet punches his way to gold in Asian Championships in Dubai
Defending champion Panghal went down fighting against the reigning Olympics champion Zoirov Shakhobidin in a hard-fought men’s 52kg final
Indian boxer Sanjeet Kumar put up a solid show against the three-time Asian champion Vassiliy Levit in the men’s 91kg final to hand country its second gold at the 2021 ASBC Asian Championships in Dubai on Monday.
Sanjeet managed a convincing 4-1 victory against the Rio Olympic silver medallist Kazkhak boxer as Indian contingent concluded their successful campaign with an unprecedented 15 medals, including two gold, five silver and eight bronze at the championships which is jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and UAE Boxing Federation. On the other hand, Amit Panghal (52kg) and Shiva Thapa (64kg) ended with silver after suffering defeats in their respective finals.
On Sunday Pooja Rani (75kg) had secured India’s first gold at the on-going event. Seasoned campaigner Mary Kom (51kg), Panghal, Thapa, Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) and Anupama (+81kg) grabbed silver medals. However, eight boxers—Vikas Krishan (69kg) Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Jaismine (57kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (54kg), Monika (48kg), Saweety (81kg) and Varinder Singh (60kg)—returned with bronze at the championships as the 19-member Indian contingent ensured the country’s best-ever show surpassing the previous highest of 13 medals achieved during the 2019 edition in Bangkok.
“This has been a challenging year for all of us and despite all the uncertainties our boxers had to undergo, it is absolutely heartening to see them ending the Asian Championships campaign with 15 medals including 2 golds and some close decisions that of Amit Panghal and Mary Kom in the finals. Our boxers have yet again ensured a record-breaking feat and am extremely proud of each one of them,” BFI President Ajay Singh said.
“These performances I am sure will motivate all our boxers to put more efforts ahead of the Olympics and help realise the Mission 2021 by winning medals in Tokyo” he further added.
Earlier on Monday night during India’s first bout, the defending champion Panghal went down fighting against the reigning Olympics champion Zoirov Shakhobidin in a hard-fought men’s 52kg final. The World Championships silver medallist put up a great fight against the world champion but it wasn’t enough for the Indian to go past Uzbek boxer as he suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat with 29-28, 28-29, 28-29, 28-29, 30-27 scoreline.
During a high-voltage 52kg summit clash between top two seeds, both the boxers showed great skills and attacked from the word go. The second round saw defending champion Panghal taking time as he was more accurate, hit timely punches with more power and was sharp in defense as well.
However, Shakhobidin fought back well in time and managed to tilt the game in his favour. The Indian team, however lodged a protest against the verdict contesting round 2 decision but it was not accepted by the Jury Commission as the Panghal ended with silver medal.
Later Thapa too suffered a close defeat by split 2-3 against the Asian Games silver medallist Mongolia’s Baatarsukh Chinzorig. The world championships bronze medallist is the only second male boxer in the world to win five medals at the Asian Championships. The 27-year-old Assam boxer has previously won gold in 2013, silver in 2017 and two bronze in 2015 and 2019.
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