Asian champion Amit Panghal (52kg) began his quest for a World Championship medal with a comfortable win over Chinese Taipei’s Tu Po-Wei in his opening bout of the marquee event in Ekaterinburg, Russia on Saturday.
Manish Kaushik (63kg) also clinched a resounding win in his second-round bout to ensure India enjoyed another fruitful day. The day, however, ended on a slightly disappointing note with seventh-seeded Asian silver-medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg) going down to China’s Tuohetaerbieke Tanglatihan in a split 2-3 verdict.
Panghal, second-seeded 23-year-old who is also an Asian Games gold-medallist, overcame his rival 5-0 to move into the pre-quarterfinals of the world showpiece. The Indian had been given a first-round bye. He will be up against Turkey’s Baluhan Citfci in the pre-quarterfinals.
Sharp as ever with his attacks, Panghal dominated Po-Wei from the first round to notch up a rather easy win. The boxer from Taipei was passive in the opening round and spent most of his time trying to avoid any engagement, prompting the referee to caution him. Panghal landed a few telling blows in the opening round to lay down the marker.
A quarterfinalist in the last edition of the World Championship in Hamburg, Panghal’s trademark aggression and pace was something that Po-Wei just couldn’t cope with despite coming hard in the next couple of rounds. The Indian was put under some late pressure but it did not have too much impact on the eventual scoreline.
The Indian Army-man, who lost to the then depending champion Hasanboy Dusmatov in the quarterfinals in 2017, has been in good form for more than a year now. Even a change of weight category, from 49kg to 52kg, has had little impact on his performance so far. In fact, his Asian Championship gold earlier this year came within a couple of months of him going up to 52kg.
“The bout was good and the opponent was a tough one,” Panghal said. “I have played him in Asian Championships before where I had defeated him 3-2. This time, my strategy was to score more and I was more aggressive right from the beginning, said India No 1 male boxer.”
He added, “my next opponent is from Turkey and he is a tall boxer. We will watch his videos and plan accordingly for the next bout.”
Kaushik, on the other hand, has a tough one at hand as he will square off against fourth-seeded Mongolian Chinzorig Baatarsukh, a silver-medallist at the Asian Games as well as the Asian Championships.
In the evening session, Kaushik, competing in his maiden World Championship, was equally ruthless against Lacruz.
The former national champion had little trouble connecting his combination punches against an opponent, whose defence was mostly non-existent and the attacking streak also fizzled out after the opening round.
Ashish, on the other hand, was locked in a draining contest. Tanglatihan was not the more attacking but was certainly the more accurate of the two, managing to move in and out effortlessly against a slightly slower Ashish.
That was the first defeat for India at the ongoing event.