The Asian Games 2018 are just around the corner, and new stars are rising at the horizon. The Boxing Federation of India has announced a ten-member boxing squad. The performance at the Commonwealth Games 2018 played a crucial role in the selection process.
Additionally, the boxing community has always brought laurels to India at numerous championships. Standing proud, among these, is a young 22-year old lad, who has shown talent, maturity, and stealth at a very young age. Amit Panghal, the boxing contender for India at the Asiad 2018 in the light flyweight 49 kg is indeed a star in the making.
After entering the senior boxing circuit in 2016, Amit has shown large caliber and maturity, even in defeat, to come back stronger. This quality makes this young champion stand out from the rest. A very successful 2017 and a grand start with CWG in 2018, he is all set to prove his mettle at the Asian Games.
The entire country has big hopes from this pugilist, who has nerves of steel! Before we go on to discuss his great prospects in the Asian Games, let us take a quick walk through the exciting journey that brought him here.
Quick Facts – Amit Panghal
Date of Birth: 16 October 1995
Place of Birth: Mayna, Haryana, India
Style of Boxing: Southpaw
International Debut: India vs. Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka – 2012
Humble beginnings – Amit Panghal
Born and brought up in Mayna village, of Rohtak district in Haryana, Amit started junior level boxing in 2009. He was still a school student then. His elder brother, Ajay, inspired him to take up boxing. He used to tag along with his elder brother for physical fitness exercises, where his uncle used to train local boxers. After looking at their hard work and passion, he decided to pursue a career in boxing. His father, Vijender Singh, a farmer in Mayna, has been supportive of his career.
Anil Dhankar, a coach who comes from Mayna as well, recognized Amit’s talent. He started training under him in Gurgaon, because of better training and infrastructure facilities. For several years, he underwent training at the Combat Boxing Club in sector 39 in Gurgaon under Dhankar. He later went on to train in Patiala, but still makes it a point to visit his former coach, as and when he can.
No wonder that the coach is extremely proud of his protégé. “I brought him to Gurgaon as a kid because I was stationed here and there were better facilities here. He is a very bright talent, and we all knew he was meant for better things.”
“I am certain he will win gold, I am not saying this because I am excited. His game is such. He is one of the best in the world in his weight category,” says Dhankar in an interview that took place before the CWG finals, with The Times of India. Panghal went on to win silver, but we are optimistic that he will take his game a notch higher at the Asiads.
In an interview with The Times of India, Amit Panghal mentioned how this training in Gurgaon positively shaped his light flyweight boxing journey. He entirely focused on his training and ambitions to prevent distraction by the party culture. Here are the excerpts from the same –
“My coach brought the three-four of us to Gurgaon to train, and the city has a great atmosphere. It is a great place to practice and train because it has a culture of fitness. Then it is close to Delhi, which has several good training facilities, which also works in Gurgaon’s favor.”
He also stressed the contribution of the Indian Army in the same interview. He said, “Out of the eight male boxers in the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games, five were from the Army. Being in the Army helps you be a team player, and the thought is that your team should be strong.”
Interesting Facts about Amit Panghal
- Amit Panghal is a Joint Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army. His elder brother also works in the Army.
- As a matter of fact, he is a part of TOPS, a programme started by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (Department of Sports). The ministry, to identify and support medal prospects for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, started TOPS or Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
Major Titles – Amit Panghal
- 48th Grand Prix International Cup 2017 – Gold
- Asian Amateur Boxing Championship 2017 – Bronze
- 68th Strandja Cup 2017 – Bronze
- 21st Commonwealth Games 2018 – Silver
His Journey – Amit Panghal
- Junior Level (2009 – 2016) His junior level boxing career started on a high after he won gold in multiple state-level championships. His high potential was visible to his coaches then itself. He went on to win a gold medal in the 25th Sub-Junior National Boxing Championship in 2009.
- Senior Level (2016 – present) Right from his debut in the senior level boxing, this light flyweight champion has had a stellar journey. Of course, the hard work that goes on behind the scenes is unimaginable. Qualifying for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games is not an easy task and required the crossing of some very tough hurdles.
Asian Boxing Championships
- He beat Ramish Rahmani of Afghanistan and Kornelis Wangu to enter the semifinals of the tournament.
- Unfortunately, he lost to Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in the semi-finals and had to be satisfied with a bronze.
AIBA World Championships 2017
- Amit initially beat Federico from Italy in the first round.
- Later, he defeated Ecuador’s Carlos Quipo, to enter the quarterfinals.
- His journey ended without a medal as Olympic champion Dusmatov beat him in the quarterfinals.
69th Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament 2017
- Beat Sharvin Kumar from Mauritius, in the last bout of the top-16 stage.
- Moreover, he defeated Russia’s Soian Artysh to enter the finals of the prestigious tournament.
- Gold it is! He beat Said Mordaji from Morocco to clinch the top spot.
The gold at the Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament for Men and Women, Sophia, Bulgaria, paved a way to enter the Commonwealth Games for Amit. He also won a lot of fame and much-deserved recognition after this event.
21st Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2018
- Amit defeated Scotland’s Aqeel Ahmed in a 4 – 1 verdict to enter the semi-finals.
- His sprightly attacks helped him beat Juma Miiro of Uganda with a clean 5:0 and clinch a spot in the finals.
- Unfortunately, he lost to Galai Yafai from England in the finals and went on to win the silver.
Though he lost in the finals, he definitely won the hearts and captured the imagination of an entire country, along with qualifying for the Asian Games 2018. He credited High-Performance Director Santiago Nieva for the excellent performance of all the boxers.
The Road Ahead – Amit Panghal
Amit is not the one to be satisfied with silver and has his sight is firmly on the gold. The Asiads will give him an opportunity to get the highest honour and secure a spot for the Olympics 2020.
Here are his plans from his mouth. Excerpts of his April 2018 interview from The Times of India. “I had a good CWG. I worked hard and got a medal. Of course, I had hoped for gold but got silver, and I am not satisfied by that, I will have to work on my speed. My next target is the Asian Games. But Asian Games will be very tough, and it would be a big test for me. I will prepare for that accordingly. We’ll have to watch the videos of our opponents and work on our weaknesses and prepare under our coaches.”
He continued, “If you look at the overall performance, it is the first time we have won so many medals at CWG. The first time, all boxers reached the semifinals, and it is a tremendous achievement. However, we can continue the training with our coaches, and put in the hard work, I am sure we will win medals at the Asian Games and Olympics.”
Such humility and dedication. Overall, Amit knows that the journey ahead is going to be tough and is giving it all. The young boy, who stands a little over five feet, comes across as a demure and shy person. However, when he talks about boxing and his ambitions, we can get a glimpse of a champion in the making. Actions positively speak louder than words and Amit Panghal is a prime example of this. Hence, in just over two years at the senior boxing circuit, he has achieved tremendous success.
Also, yes, he is not satisfied with just this, but hungry for more! The graph of achievements is all set to rise, and the spotlight will remain on him when he goes on to fight it out in the ring at the Asian Games. Haryana has produced champions like Olympic bronze-medalist Vijender Singh to Commonwealth gold medalist Manoj Kumar. In conclusion, we cannot wait to see this bright star join the high ranks and make us proud!
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