Sydney: India’s Sabari Jaishankar defeated Australian champion Michael Pengue to win the World Boxing Council’s Australiasia title in the welterweight division.
In a historic moment for Indian boxing, Sabari won the title with a knockout of the Australian champion in the 8th round of their 10-round bout on Saturday night.
Pengue, also known as the “Punisher”, was the favourite to win the fight. He came into this event with two consecutive wins — after bagging the vacant WBC Australasia title in December 2021 by a 10-round points decision over fellow Australian Jorge Kapeen.
Sabari, a pro boxer from Tamilnadu had won the WBC India title in December 2021 via an 8-round split decision victory over Akashdeep Singh at Hyderabad.
In the bout, Sabari oozed confidence right from the first bell. He out-punched Pengue in every round. By the eighth round, the Australian was exhausted. With a minute to go in the 8th round, a hard right from Sabari sent Pengue to the canvas.
A knockdown count followed from the Referee to wait for Pengue to get back onto his feet, failing which he waved his hands to call an end to the fight, the Indian Boxing Council said in a report on its website.
At the time of stoppage, Sabari was ahead on the scorecards of two of the three judges assigned by the World Boxing Council and the Australian Boxing Commission, the report said.
“Sabari was a little low on confidence ahead of the bout. It was obvious, he saw almost everybody in the stadium cheering for the local boxer. But I told him that he was equally good and just one good round will earn him half the spectators in the stadium,” Sabari’s coach and manager Kamal Mujtaba was quoted as saying in the report.
“He followed the plan and went all out in the first round to shock Pengue and the crowd with his energy. Once the first hurdle was crossed, Sabari gained a lot of confidence which helped him win the title,” said Mujtaba.