Asian Boxing Championships: Sanjeet wins India’s second gold


Dubai, June 1: India’s Sanjeet beat Kazakistan’s Vassiliy Levit in a 3-2 split decision in the 91 kg final to win gold at the Asian Boxing Championship on Monday.

Earlier, Shiva Thapa lost to Mongolia’s Baatarsukh Chinzorig in a 2-3 split decision in the 64kg final and settle for silver, as Amit Panghal lost to reigning World and Olympic champion Zoirov Shakhobidin of Uzbekistan in a 2-3 split decision in the final of the 52 kg event to settle for silver. This is the third loss for Panghal at the hands of Zoirov ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

The Army man, who is a former India Open gold-medallist, claimed the first two rounds in an evenly-contested bout before Levit fought back in the final three minutes. Panghal lost 2-3 to known nemesis Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in what was a repeat of the 2019 world championship final, which had also ended in Zoirov’s favour.

India sought a review of the second round of the bout but the protest was rejected by the jury which stuck to the original decision. “I dedicate this silver medal to my coach Anil Dhanker. I wish he was here with me in Dubai," Panghal tweeted referring to his personal coach. Thapa (64kg) also lost by the same margin to Mongolia’s Baatarsukh Chinzorig, the reigning Asian Games silver-medallist. This was Thapa’s fifth successive podium finish and second silver at the showpiece. Both the contests had the Indian boxers doing most things right but not getting the judges’ nod.

The Panghal-Zoirov clash lived up to the hype with both the Olympic-bound boxers engaged in a fast exchange of punches from the very first round. Zoirov claimed the opening round. But in the second round, Panghal raised his game by a notch, evading Zoirov’s range with his pace and landing his left straights precisely. Zoirov, on the other hand, struggled to connect.

The two went all out in the third round but it was Panghal who was more impressive with his body shots despite an injured eye. He even had the judges’ verdict in his favour for the round but it was not enough to alter the final score-line as Zoirov had the requisite scores thanks to the varied scoring across three rounds. Thapa was equally impressive against Chinzorig, rallying brilliantly after losing the opening round.

But he lost the all-important final round in a fight that became messy due to close range punching. “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 two golds…," said Boxing Federation of India President Ajay Singh. “Our boxers have yet again ensured a record-breaking feat and I am extremely proud of each one of them. These performances I am sure will motivate all our boxers to put more efforts ahead of the Olympics and help realise Mission 2021 by winning medals in Tokyo," he added.

Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Varinder Singh (60kg) had already secured bronze medals in the men’s section with their semi-final finish.

On Sunday, the Indian women’s boxing team finished with one gold, three silver and six bronze medals in Dubai. Pooja Rani won gold as Mary Kom, Lalbuatsaihi and Anupama claimed silver medals, while Simranjit Kaur, Lovlina Borgohain, Jaismine, Sakshi Chaudhary, Monika and Saweety got bronze.

In fact, overall, this is India’s best-ever showing at the Asian Boxing Championships, with India’s previous best haul being 13 medals (2 gold, 4 silver and 7 bronze) in the 2019 edition.-Agencies

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