Vijender Singh hails Amit Panghal, first Indian man to reach World Boxing Championships final

Amit Panghal, who started his World Boxing Championships, campaign as one of the title contenders in the 52kg category, has lived up to the billing.

India pugilist Amit Panghal, who qualified for the World Championships final on Friday, earned praise from Vijender Singh.

India pugilist Amit Panghal, who qualified for the World Championships final on Friday, earned praise from Vijender Singh.   -  PTI

As Amit Panghal defeated Saken Bibossinov to reach the World Boxing Championships final on Friday, India’s boxing ace Vijender Singh heaped praise on the young gun.

“He has worked very hard and that has finally paid off. It’s a great feeling to see him making it to the final,” Vijender told Sportstar.

Panghal, who started his campaign as one of the title contenders in the 52kg category, has had a dream run. And Vijender, who won a bronze in the World Championships way back in 2009, credits Panghal for chasing his dream, despite not getting much support from the government early in his career.

“It all happened because of his own efforts. There was no special support from government or other outfits, but that did not stop him from putting the hard work. There is no substitute to hard work and he has proven that again,” Vijender said.

READ: Amit Panghal enters final of World Boxing Championships, Manish Kaushik settles for bronze

The 23-year-old Panghal -- who is the first Indian male pugilist to reach the final of the Worlds -- will be taking on Shakhobidin Zoirov, the reigning Olympic champion, in the final. And Vijender hopes the youngster doesn’t bow down under pressure.

“Finals are always a big challenge, but he has done extremely well and he should just keep the momentum going,” the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist said. “He should be high on confidence at the moment and I hope, India gets a gold medal. This is a moment of pride for the entire country,” Vijender added.

Having featured in many big events in his illustrious career, Vijender understands what a pugilist goes through in crunch situations. “Handling such situations well makes one a champion. As a senior, I would advice Amit to not take too much pressure and get bogged down under pressure,” he said, adding: “This is your moment. Make us proud!”