Amit Panghal on Saturday became the first Indian male boxer to win a silver at the World Championships. Facing Uzbek Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov in the flyweight final, Panghal lost by a unanimous decision to miss out on gold but he had already created history by becoming the first Indian to reach the title clash at the Worlds.
“I gave my 100 % and I think I played well. And the way I had planned to start in the 1st round, I managed to do it but still, I ended up losing that round. In the 2nd and 3rd rounds, I was able to play according to my plans and had thought that I will win as I was able to land quite a few punches. But the decision of the officials went against me and that means that I will need to work harder. Even though I couldn’t win gold here, my next aim would be to win a gold for my country at the Olympics,” said Panghal in a video after his bout.
Before this year, India had never won more than one bronze medal at a single edition of the world championships.
After Panghal’s silver and Manish Kaushik’s bronze, India have finished the Worlds with their best ever medal tally. The 23-year-old Panghal was a quarterfinalist in the World Championships the last time around. Vijender Singh (2009), Vikas Krishan (2011), Shiva Thapa (2015) and Gaurav Bidhuri (2017) are the only other Indian boxers who have medalled at this event previously all bronze.
Panghal has been one of India’s most consistent boxers in the recent past. Ever since Panghal went on to win the bronze at Asian Championships in 2017, the 23-year-old has been on an upward trajectory.