Boxer Panghal targets medal in 2020 Olympics

Amit Panghal intends to work on his strength and endurance to attain a podium finish at the 2020 Olympics in the 52 kg weight category.

Amit Panghal gestures after he was declared winner against Philippines' Paalam Carlo in the Men's Light Fly (46-49kg) boxing semifinal bout at the 18th Asian Games on August 31.   -  PTI

Asian Games gold medal-winning boxer Amit Panghal has his target set -- to represent India and attain a podium finish at the 2020 Olympics in the 52 kg weight category.

To achieve this big dream in a higher weight class than what he had competed in at the Asian Games, he intends to work on his strength and endurance.

“My aim is to represent India at the Olympics, like any other athlete. Not thought about professional boxing as the main target is the 2020 Olympics and I will try to come back with a medal in the 52 kg category,” Panghal said at an event on Wednesday.

Last month, Panghal became only the eighth Indian boxer to claim a gold medal in Asian Games history with a stunning tactical win over reigning Olympic and Asian Champion Hasanboy Dusmatov in the summit clash of the 49 kg.

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“Yes it will be tough going ahead as I am going to 52 kg and the boxers in this category will be more powerful and have a better reach. We will practice for 52 kg. I am working on increasing my strength and endurance,” added the 22-year-old, who was the only Indian boxer to win a gold medal in this year's Asian Games.

So, who are the boxers who Panghal thinks can pose him a tough challenge at the world level? “Cubans, Russians and Uzbek boxers are tough in the 52 kg category. I think I will have to work on them and see their videos,” said the talented boxer from Haryana.

Panghal, though, rued his inability to meet star boxer Vijender Singh, a bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, who has turned pro.

“I have never met Vijender. He had come to the national camp in 2016, but I could not meet him and I felt bad that I could not interact with him. If I meet him, I will ask him about his experience,” the young boxer said.