Panghal's Olympic campaign ends with shocking loss to Colombian Martinez
(Sourced from PTI)
Star Indian boxer Amit Panghal (52kg) bowed out of the Olympics with a stunning 1-4 loss to Rio Games silver medalist Yuberjen Martinez, beaten by the Colombian's relentless attacks and pace in a draining pre-quarterfinal bout on Saturday. The world number one Indian, who was making his debut in the Games and was seeded top, had got an opening-round bye.
Panghal was put under pressure by the sprightly Colombian in the opening round itself but the pre-bout favorite ensured that he connected better to claim the first three minutes 4-1. "They have sparred with each other. In some of them, Panghal was better than today but in others, it was similar to what happened today," Indian Boxing's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva said.
"It wasn't a total surprise because we had seen that this guy is very dangerous," Nieva added. Martinez's pace should have set alarm bells ringing in the Indian corner despite Panghal bagging the first round because the Pan-American champion upped the ante in the second round, working relentlessly on Panghal's body with his uppercuts.
Panghal found it tough to respond and Martinez's persistence brought him to level with the top star. "We knew what to expect but our hope was that Panghal would stand up better in the last two rounds," Nieva added. Martinez made sure that there was no let-up in the intensity in the final three minutes as well.
"Against no other opponent, I have seen Panghal so tired," Nieva said. Despite this loss, the 25-year-old Panghal remains one of the best-performing Indian boxers in recent times, having secured a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games, followed by an unparalleled silver medal at the world championships in 2019.