A silver worth its weight in gold: Panghal ends 2nd at world c’ships

Amit Panghal, Boxer, World Championships, Shakhobidin Zoirov, Manish Kaushik, International Olympic Committee , International Boxing Association
Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) had to be content with the silver medal after going down 0-5 to Uzbekistan's reigning Olympic gold medallist Shakhobidin Zoirov at the AIBA Men's World Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Photo: PTI

Boxer Amit Panghal who broke records by becoming the first Indian male boxer to reach the final of AIBA men’s World Boxing Championships ended his campaign with a silver medal after a defeat from Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov in Ekaterinburg (Russia) on Saturday (September 21).

Pangal lost 0-5 to the Olympic champion in the 52kg category, however, the scoreline was hardly a reflection of the fight he put up against Zoirov.

With the second-seeded Indian’s win, the country received its best-ever medal haul of two. Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kaushik (63kg) had signed off with a bronze after losing in the semifinals earlier.

In a bout that was mostly about counter-attack, both Panghal and Zoirov were wary of each other in the opening three minutes.


The action picked up a bit in the second round and Panghal tried hard to capitalize on his rival’s low guard. However, in Zoirov, Panghal met his match in pace and the Uzbek had no trouble dodging Panghal’s lunging efforts.

The final round was when the two boxers decided to attack each other more intensely and even though Panghal was more aggressive, it was Zoirov who managed to land more scoring blows.

Also read: Panghal creates history, inches closer to World Championship gold

The boxer has been unstoppable since his last national scene that ended with a bronze in the 2017 Asian Championships.

Zoirov, despite being unseeded here, was always going to be a tough challenge as he also has to his credit silver medals in the Asian Games and the Asian Championships.

India had never won more than one bronze medal at a single edition of the world championship before this year.

The past medal-winners are Vijender Singh (2009), Vikas Krishan (2011), Shiva Thapa (2015) and Gaurav Bidhuri (2017). This time, India was among nine countries, out of a total of 78, which had their boxers in the finals. Uzbekistan topped the finalists count with four boxers.

“This is a reward for the effort that BFI (Boxing Federation of India) has put into re-modelling the entire structure of the sport so that our boxers get the best of training and can confidently perform on the world stage,” BFI President Ajay Singh said.

“With less than a year to go for the 2020 Olympics, these performances are a major boost. BFI will ensure and encourage them in every possible way so that they can carry this form into Tokyo to bring back medals for the country,” he added.

The just-concluded tournament was to be an Olympic qualifying event but was stripped of that status by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) citing administrative and financial mismanagement in the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

(With inputs from agencies)