Three Indian men storm into Asian Boxing Championships final
Defending champion Amit Panghal (52kg) and Shiva Thapa (64kg), along with Sanjeet (91 kg), stormed into the Asian Boxing Championships finals after clinching resounding victories even as an injured Vikas Krishan (69kg) signed off with a bronze medal in Dubai on Friday. Olympic-bound Panghal out-punched familiar foe Saken Bibossinov of Kazakhstan 5-0.
Vikas had to endure a split decision loss
Thapa, the first Indian male boxer in the tournament history to secure five medals, dominated top-seeded defending champion Bakhodur Usmonov of Tajikistan to make the finals with a 4-0 verdict. Sanjeet, whose opponent was Sanjar Tursunov of Uzbekistan, won the bout 5-0 to enter the finals. However, Tokyo-bound Krishan endured a split decision loss to top seed and Uzbekistan's Baturov Bobo-Usmon.
Tournament debutant Varinder Singh had to settle for a bronze
The bout lasted less than one round as Krishan's eye injury, sustained in the previous bout, aggravated forcing the referee to stop the contest. Also ending with a bronze was tournament debutant and national champion Varinder Singh (60kg) after a high-intensity clash against Iran's Daniyal Shahbakhsh. The Indian lost 2-3 after fighting his heart out.
Panghal will face reigning world champion Zoirov in final
Next, Panghal will square off against reigning Olympic and world champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the final on Monday. It will be a repeat of the 2019 world championship final in which the Indian had lost to settle for silver.
Medals bagged by Thapa at the tournament over the years
Thapa's dominance in the match reached its peak in the third round when Usmonov faced a standing eight count. Thapa's first medal at the event was a gold in 2013, followed by a bronze in 2015, a silver in 2017, and another bronze in 2019. Thapa will be up against Mongolia's Baatarsukh Chinzorig in the summit clash. Chinzorig is the Asian Games silver-medalist.
Sakshi lost to Dina Zholaman who challenged the narrow victory
However, on Thursday night, it was heartbreak for two-time world youth champion Sakshi Choudhary (54kg) as she lost her final spot after her rival, top-seeded Kazakh Dina Zholaman, successfully challenged the narrow victory that she had clinched in the last-four stage. Choudhary had prevailed 3-2 in the regulation bout but the decision was challenged by Kazakhstan's team and eventually overturned.
Four Indian women entered championship finals earlier
However, four Indian women boxers— six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51kg), Lalbuatsaihi (64kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), and Anupama (+81kg) have entered the championship finals. Of these, Pooja got a walkover after her opponent pulled out.