Bangkok, Apr 25 (PTI):
Amit Panghal (52kg) and Kavinder Singh Bisht (56kg) remained on course for their second successive international gold medals this year and India looked good to notch up its best ever performance in the Asian Boxing Championships here on Thursday.
Panghal and Bisht were the most impressive on a day when Shiva Thapa’s (60kg) unprecedented fourth successive semifinal appearance ended with a bronze after a gruelling battle which could have gone either way. Deepak Singh (49kg) and Ashish Kumar (75kg) joined Panghal and Bisht in the men’s finals, while Pooja Rani (81kg) and Simranjit Kaur (64kg) advanced to Friday’s summit clashes in the women’s draw. Panghal defeated China’s Hu Jianguan in a split verdict, which was a surprise given that the Indian was clearly the more dominant of the two boxers and dictated the bout with his tremendous pace and aggression. Bisht, on the other hand, turned in a lion-hearted show in a bloody battle which left him and his opponent — Mongolian Enkh-Amar Khakhuu — with bandaged right eyes. The draining fight ended 3-2 in the Indian’s favour.
Thapa came out all guns blazing too, against 2015 edition’s silver-medallist Kazakhstan’s Zakir Safiullin, but a loss of momentum in the final round ended up tilting the scales against him in a split decision by the judges.
Also finishing with a bronze among men were Ashish (69kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg).
While Ashish was beaten 0-5 by Uzbekistan’s Bobo-Usmon Baturov, Satish was forced to give a walkover to Kazakh Kamshybek Kunkabayev owing to an injury sustained in the previous bout.
Settling for bronze medals among the women were veteran former champion L Sarita Devi (60kg), last edition’s silver-medallist Manisha (54kg), former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg) and world silver-medallist Sonia Chahal (57kg).
It was a positive start to the day for India with national champion Deepak advancing to the final without exchanging a single blow after getting a walkover from Kazakhstan’s Temirtas Zhussupov due to injury. It was a second successive walkover to the Indian. Next up was Bisht, who had upstaged reigning world champion Kairat Yeraliyev of Kazakhstan in his quarterfinal contest.
Willing to risk a few blows, the quick-moving Bisht stunned his rival by the sheer power of his punches. The intensity was high in the final three minutes and Khakhuu did try hard but even his best was not enough to deter Bisht, who seemed prepared for a late onslaught of punches.
Bangkok, Apr 25 (PTI):