Jakarta, Diminutive Amit Panghal punched his way to glory and gold as he shocked reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan 3-2 in the 49kg final at the Asian Games in Jakarta on Saturday.
Debutant Amit displayed tremendous nerves and took full advantage of Dusmatov’s desperation in the dying moments of the third round “I knew i had a chance in this round and i made full use of that”.
“It is incredible win. To beat Olympic champion in Asian Games final is dream come true and that too in my debut” Amit said after the win.
This was also a sweet and unforgettable revenge for the Indian who had lost 0-5 to in the AIBA World Championships quarter-finals last year in Hamburg. It was a brutal fight in which Uzbek boxed according to a plan. He was more defensive trying to seize his rival.
Amit on the other hand was more on the offensive but found it tough to breach the Uzbek’s defence.The Commonwealth Games silver medallist, however, kept attacking his famed rival and that did rattled Dusmatov.
The 23-year old Indian Army man was relentlessly aggressive and landed more clean punches on the more experienced rival.
The two, however, were levelled 1-1 after the two rounds and in the decider the Olympic champion became more but Amit survived this onslaught and in the last minute surprised the Uzbek, who had opened his defence by landing some clean punches and jabs.Amit also showed more determination as he maintained sturdy defence despite keeping an open guard for much of the bout.
Entering the senior boxing circuit in 2016, Amit had also claimed a bronze at the Asian Championships in 2017 With this win, India claimed their only second boxing medal at the Games, after Vikas Krishan’s bronze post his withdrawal from the 75kg category.
In 2014 –India had claimed five medals, including one gold. Dusmatov was the runner-up at the World Championships and won the Asian Championships in 2015 and 2017.
The 25-year-old Uzbek had lost in the quarterfinals in the last edition of the Asian Games in Incheon in 2014.
This is also only India’s second medal at the Games in the men’s light-flyweight, category. Their previous medal in this category had come through Birju Sah, who won bronze in 1994.
“I had fought against Dusmatov in World Championship last year. I knew he is very aggressive .He had his strategy but I also went with plan.”
He adopted defensive tactics in the beginning but I did not fall in his trap. I kept the attack and never gave him any quarter. “This was tough but than it was Asian Games final. I wanted to win the gold on my debut, I had the momentum with me and wanted to keep it going. I knew that this was my best chance to win the title” he said
“We were confident that Amit will win because the way he had performed in previous bouts.”said coach Rafaele Bergmasco.
He said though India medal is only two compared to five last time but still it is very creditable. The medals have been shared equally this time. No one country has dominated the event.