Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) achieved a historic high that no Indian has achieved in history by bagging a silver medal after going down 0-5 to the reigning Olympic gold medallist, Uzbekistan's Shakhobidin Zoirov at the World Boxing Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia tonight.
This is thus the first time two Indian boxers finished on the podium at a single edition of the World Championships, with bronze medallist Manish Kaushik (63kg) being the other. This historic silver medal is also the 23-year-old Panghal’s maiden medal from this prestigious tournament. Despite the loss, Panghal had already created history as the first Indian male boxer to reach the final of the Worlds. Previously four Indian pugilists including Vijender Singh, Vikas Krishan, Shiva Thapa, and Gaurav Bidhuri have been medalled here. However, none of them could secure a medal better than bronze.
Panghal, who has been in terrific form as evidenced by his gold medals at the Asian Championships and the Asian Games, found the going tough against determined Shakhobidin Zoirov. Panghal’s defensive approach exposed him to a few blows from his accomplished opponent. While Panghal looked to improve his attack as the bout went on, the taller and sturdier Zoirov was overall the better boxer as he landed his first gold as well as his first-ever medal from the World Championships.
India’s laudable performance at this tournament is another validation that men’s boxing in the country has been on an upward trajectory for some time. With just one year to go for the Tokyo Olympics, such a strong show only boosts medal hopes further.