Dubai: Olympic Games-bound Amit Panghal (54kg) and Shiva Thapa (64kg) entered the finals of the Asian Boxing Championship here on Friday as Indians continued to have a good outing, overall.
However, Varinder Singh had to settle for bronze in the 60kg category after losing his semi-final match, as did Vikas Krishan, who retired hurt in the first round of the 69kg semis bout.
The Indian contingent is assured of at least six silver medals by virtue of its boxers having reached the finals, including four women. With a total of 15 medals confirmed, India has achieved its highest medal haul, surpassing the previous best of 13 — two gold, four silver, and seven bronze medals — won in 2019 in Bangkok.
Thapa entered the final after defeating defending champion Bakhodur Usmonov of Tajikistan 4-0. He will face Baatarsukh Chinzorig of Mongolia in the final.
Having learned the art of tackling taller opponents, Panghal relied on those skills to score a 5-0 win against Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov to enter the gold medal match of the 54kg category.
Panghal, 25, will take on the 2016 Rio Olympic champion Zoirov Shakhobidin of Uzbekistan in the final match on Monday.
Lightweight Panghal, the world silver medallist, had also defeated Bibossinov in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Championships and both were well versed with each other’s tactics.
Bibossinov, 29, the 2019 world bronze medallist, fought hard but couldn’t match his nippy rival. He employed the tactics of dropping his guard, but Panghal was smart enough to stay out of the reach of his taller opponent throughout the thrilling contest.
Panghal preferred to attack in short swift bursts and was equally quick on the counter attacks to score 5-0 win.
In the quarter-final, Panghal had defeated Kharkhuu Enkhmandakh of Mongolia 3-2.
Varinder settled for bronze in the men’s 60kg after he lost 2-3 to Iran’s Danial Shahbakashm.
Vikas Krishan retired hurt in the first round of his 69kg semi-finals as he got cut on the upper side of the right eye. His opponent, reigning Asian Games champion Baturov Bobo Usmon of Uzbekistan, was declared the winner.
In the men’s 81kg, scheduled for late Friday night, Sanjeet will face Sanjar Tursunov of Uzbekistan in the semi-finals.
On Thursday, six-time world champion MC Marykom (51kg), along with three more Indians — Pooja Rani (75kg), Anupama (+81kg), and Lalbuatsahi (64kg) — had progressed to the finals.