India’s Amit Panghal (52kg) became only the fifth Indian man to win a medal in the World Championships after he defeated Philippines’ Carlo Paalam 4:1 by a split-decision verdict in Yekaterinburg on Wednesday.
Panghal, the reigning Asian champion, has been in irresistible form after getting a first-round bye. He registered resounding wins in the round of 16 and the quarter-finals. The 23-year-old’s task was cut out against the highly-rated Filipino, with whom he was entangled in an enthralling bout in the Asian Games. On that occasion, Panghal went on to win a tense bout 3:2 and that set the tone for a title win.
No Indian man has gone on to reach the final of the World Championships. Before Panghal, Vijender Singh, Vikas Krishan, Shiva Thapa and Gaurav Bidhuri had bagged bronze medals.
Manish reigns supreme
India’s day got even better in Yekaterinburg after Manish Kaushik overcame a sluggish start against Brazil’s Wanderson de Oliveira in the 63kg category 5:0 via unanimous decision.
Kaushik, though, was irresistible in the final round to land a couple of decisive jabs on his opponent to turn the tide in his favour. Oliveira showed a lot of promise in the first round but fizzled away in the final two.
Kaushik showed fine technical finesse, moving his opponent around the ring and picking the opportune moment to execute punches. Kaushik now becomes the sixth Indian man to win a medal at the World Championships. This is already India’s best-ever showing in the men’s World Championships with two medals already being assured.
Sanjeet knocked out
Sanjeet came out second best against Ecuador’s Julio Cesar Castillo Torres in his 91kg quarter-finals. The experienced Torres outmaneuvered the Indian with his movement and combinations in the first and final rounds.
Sanjeet made a valiant comeback in the second and landed a couple of solid jabs with his left. But he soon ran out of gas in the final round. Torres deployed quick bursts of 1-2 punches and maintained a safe distance from his opponent. A tired Sanjeet was unable to muster a concrete attack of note.
In the final minute of the bout, Sanjeet was on the floor after Torres landed a ferocious hook and it came as no surprise to see the accomplished South American enter the last-four of the World Championships for the first time in his career.
Kavinder Singh Bisht’s run at the World Championships also came to an end late as he was outpunched by England’s Peter McGrail in the 57kg weight category.
Bisht lost by a unanimous 5:0 margin against his opponent. Bisht’s all-out attacking approach was easily breached by the former European champion but not without a fight. Late in the first round and the early parts of the second belonged to Bisht, which forced the Englishman to think on his feet.
McGrail put up a much-improved display in the final round, which perhaps sealed his place in the semi-finals. McGrail was able to sidestep almost everything Bisht had to throw at him and executed quick bursts of punches of his own.