A silver worth its weight in gold for Amit Panghal

Amit Panghal felt his punches lacked power in the 5-0 loss to Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov in the World Championships final.

Amit Panghal believes he can get the better of Zoirov in their next match-up.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Indian boxer Amit Panghal’s phenomenal campaign in the men’s world championships ended with a silver medal after he went down to Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in an intense 52kg category final here on Saturday.

Panghal lost 0-5 but the scoreline was hardly a reflection of the fight he put on against the more fancied Zoirov.

“I think I lacked a bit of power in my punches today, I will work on it. Zoirov has been in this weight for longer time than me, that helped him today,” Panghal told PTI after the bout.

“Nonetheless, it is the biggest medal of my career, I dedicate this to my country,” he added.

In the course of his stupendous run, the second-seeded Indian became the first male boxer from the country to finish second in the world event. The nation achieved its best-ever medal haul of two. Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kaushik (63kg) had signed off with a bronze after losing in the semifinals earlier.

Once again up against a taller and more muscular opponent, Panghal gave it his all but fell short when it came to connecting accurately. The Asian Games and Asian Championships gold-medallist nonetheless achieved a historic feat.

In a bout that was mostly about counter-attack, both Panghal and Zoirov were wary of each other in the opening three minutes.

The action picked up a bit in the second round and Panghal tried hard to capitalise on his rival’s low guard. However, in Zoirov, Panghal met his match in pace and the Uzbek had no trouble dodging Panghal’s lunging efforts.

The final round was when the two boxers decided to attack each other more intensely and even though Panghal was more aggressive, it was Zoirov who managed to land more scoring blows.

“I am sure I am going to beat him the next time we square off. There are a few shortcomings in my game, I will ensure they are taken care of next time,” he said.

“He could have performed a lot better than what he did. He just needed to be a shade more aggressive and throw more punches. That alone would have been enough because the other guy wasn’t exactly a power-hitter,” added national coach C A Kuttappa.