History-maker Panghal has 'unfinished business' at World Championships

Amit Panghal prepares for his World Championships bout against reigning Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan.

Panghal became the first Indian male boxer to make the world championship summit clash. (FILE IMAGE)   -  BFI

He has already scripted history but Indian boxing ace Amit Panghal (52kg) says he isn’t quite done yet as he aims for the gold in the World Championship here on Saturday.

Asian Games and the Asian Championships gold-medallist Panghal defeated Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov 3-2 in the semifinals here on Friday to become the first Indian male boxer to make the world championship summit clash.

READ | Amit Panghal in final, Manish Kaushik bags bronze

Awaiting the 23-year-old in the final is reigning Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan.

“I am obviously very happy but there is an unfinished business as of now. I have worked really hard and I would like to ensure that I get the best prize,” Panghal told PTI.

“The guy I fought today was taller but he didn’t have the kind of power that I have. My rival tomorrow is an unknown entity to me. I haven’t fought him before. I will rely on old videos to figure him out,” he said.

Panghal has been nothing short of phenomenal ever since he made his India breakthrough with an Asian Championship bronze back in 2017. He became the champion in that event this year.

He was a quarterfinalist in the World Championships the last time around and is now one win away from being a champion here too. In between, he became an Asian Games gold-medallist.

Adding credit to this performance is the fact that he changed his weight category from 49kg to 52kg a few months ago this year after the former division was dropped from the Olympic roster.

“I have adjusted alright. Power was the key issue and I have added that to my punches. I am going in the right direction but not quite there yet but I will make it eventually,” he said.

He is also India’s only boxer to claim consecutive gold medals in one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious tournaments -- the Strandja Memorial. The pint-sized dynamo from Rohtak, who is a Naib Subedar in the Indian Army, said he has worked hard and will continue to do so.

“I feel lucky and blessed to have achieved so much but also I have worked very hard for all of this,” he said.

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