Amit Panghal became the first Indian man to reach the final of the AIBA Boxing World Championships after edging out Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov 3:2 in the semi-finals at Ekaterinburg, Russia on Friday.
After starting cautiously, Panghal got into the bout by going close to his opponent and unleashing quick 1-2 punches. The Indian was also equally adept in attack and managed to evade whatever Bibossinov had to throw at him. There were very few decisive punches from the Kazakh in the early exchanges
Panghal continued to grow in confidence as the bout progressed and the final round was fairly one-sided. Bibossinov struggled to deal with the Asian champion’s jabs. This, despite the Kazakh ending the second round on a high.
Despite the perception that Panghal had a dominant performance, the final verdict was a close one with two judges ruling in favour of the Kazakh boxer.
Indian pugilists have won four bronze medals in the history of the tournament, but for the first time, Panghal has ensured there will be a gold or silver added to that tally. The Asian Games gold medallist will now face Uzbekistan’s Rio Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov in the final.
There was no luck for the India’s other semi-finallist Manish Kaushik, though, as he was defeated by reigning world champion Andy Cruz of Cuba. Kaushik, who is guaranteed of a bronze medal, lost 0:5 by a unanimous decision in a bout that was fairly one-sided. Cruz worked out his opponent early and was in a dominant mood in the second and third rounds. The Cuban will now have a chance to defend his title.