World Boxing Championships: Amit Panghal one bout away from historic gold

Amit Panghal aims to become the first Indian boxer to win a World Boxing Championships gold medal when he takes on Shakhobidin Zoirov in the final.

Amit Panghal has the distinction of becoming the first Indian pugilist to reach the final of the World Boxing Championships.   -  PTI

Indian boxing sensation Amit Panghal is all set for the marquee bout against Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov, 2016 Olympic gold medallist, in the final of the World Men's Boxing Championships.

Second-seeded Panghal (52kg category), who defeated Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov in the semifinal, has already scripted history by becoming the first Indian pugilist to reach the Worlds final. And on Saturday, the 23-year-old, hailing from Haryana, will be stepping into the ring with his eyes set on the gold.

"My aim is to win the gold and I am fully prepared. I had a good sleep last night and I am fully focused. I can't wait to step into the ring," Panghal told Sportstar from Russia.

Panghal prevailed in an exhaustive bout on Friday, where he won 3-2, and feels he has recovered well. "The recovery has been good and I am following my match routine. What happened yesterday (Friday) is past and now my focus is entirely on the final," the armyman added.

READ : Amit Panghal vs Shakhobidin Zoirov - all you need to know

- Preparation on point -

The reigning Asian champion is particular with his diet and has been following a set pattern since his arrival in Russia. "I drink a lot of water and apple juice is something I don't miss. I need to be hydrated and training consumes a lot of energy. Before the match, I do light training and I bank on dry fruits and nuts along with other proteins. I keep myself light before the bout.

"I prefer to be in a happy space. I relax by listening to music and don't think too much about the bout. Jab waqt ayega tab dekha jayega," he said.

Panghal will face Zoirov for the first time in his career and the pint-sized pugilist isn't reading too much into it. "At the end, he is an opponent and I need to win the bout. In a way, not facing him previously will help me as I will be entering the ring with a clear mind. I know he will come strong, but I am well prepared," he said.

Athletes do have superstitions and Panghal too has his own beliefs. "I always chant Jai Bajrang Bali before entering the ring and so does my team. I am very organised and don't speak much once I enter the arena. I need to be in my zone and thankfully, the journey in the Worlds has been good so far," he said.

Panghal is the first Indian male boxer to go beyond a World Championship bronze medal. Within hours, he will be in the ring with a dream of becoming a World Champion. "It will be nice if I do become the World Champion. I am thankful for the support that I am getting from India. It will be a very emotional moment once I step into the arena and I want to give my best shot. Competing in a final where no other Indian boxer has means a lot," he said.

"I don't want to add undue pressure and just want to live in the present and not let the occasion get the better of me. It's time I start preparing for the bout," he said, signing off.