Jakarta: India’s Amit Panghal created one of the biggest upsets in Asian Games boxing history to clinch gold in the 49kg lightflyweight category when he outpunched reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Kazakhstan to triumph via a split decision on on Saturday.
This was India’s first-ever gold in this category and ninth overall in boxing since the sport was first introduced at the Asian Games in 1954.
Panghal also gained sweet revenge for his loss against Dusmatov in the World Champion in Germany and Asian Championship in Tashkent last year.
I had prepared well for this bout and it came to my advantage. I came out attacking. I had worked really hard in strength and stamina,” said a jubilant Panghal.
“I did well in the first two rounds and wanted to beat him in the third round also, wanted to maintain the momentum. Wanted to stay away from his left hook.
“He is a southpaw and they are rare. So we had prepared for this bout by watching his videos and studying his techniques, his shortcomings,” added Panghal, who also felt that the gold medal would change his life for the better.
“When someone wins a gold, his life certainly changes. Mine also will change. I will keep working hard for future contests.”
Panghal, who had opted for a guarded approach all through his bouts en-route to finals, adopted an aggressive approach right from the start against his nemisis.
Round one was clearly all about getting the measure of his more fancied opponent. Using the ring well, Panghal kept a safe distance from Dusmatov and blocked all punches that the latter had to offer.
Panghal then landed a stinging left-hand jab on to the Champion’s ear to let him know that it not going to be an easy foe this time round.
The bout picked up pace in the second round and Panghal went all out with an open guard. It was a tricky ploy to opt for against a pro like Dusmatov but it worked. Dusmativ continued to pursue Panghal who did well to land a bid to the face. Desperated to regain his hold on the bout the Kazakh threw combinations which had no effect on the by now composed Panghal.
The third round started with both boxers trading punches but it was clear that Panghal had the edge. He opted to move around the ring and not engage his rival in close quarters which resulted in victory.
India’s Pranab Bardhan and Shibhnath Sarkar also won India’s first-ever gold medal in bridge with a total of 384 points to finish on top of the table in the Men’s pair event.
China’s Yang Lixin and Chen Gang finished second with 378 points while Indonesia’s Lasut Henky and Manoppo Freddy Eddy finished third with 374 points. Bridge is making its debut at the Asian Games and India managed an impressive gold and two bronze medals in the sport.
The Indian squash team of Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal, Sunayna Kuruvilla and Tanvi Khanna settled for a silver medal in the women’s team event at the Asian Games after losing in the final.