Dubai: Defending champion Amit Panghal (52kg), Shiva Thapa (64kg) and Sanjeet (91kg) stormed into the finals of ongoing 2021 Asian Boxing Championships after registering impressive victories in their respective semi-final bouts, here.
Olympic-bound Panghal out-punched Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov in the last-4 clash on Friday.
During an intense battle between World Championships silver medallist Panghal and bronze medallist Bibossinov, the Indian made a cautious start and tried to keep a distance from the opponent. He looked more aggressive later in the second round and hit some clean punches to put pressure on Bibossinov.
Panghal carried on the momentum throughout the match and stamped his authority over Kazakh boxer to secure a commanding win. Aiming to win second successive gold, the Indian boxer will take on Rio Olympic champion Zoirov Shakhobidin of Uzbekistan in the gold medal match on Monday.
Later in the 64kg last-4 clash, continuing his brilliant form of the tournament, Shiva Thapa also ensured his third final appearance at the Asian Championships as he sent top-seeded Bakhodur Usmonov of Tajikistan packing with 4-0 win.
Thapa, who has already secured a record fifth consecutive medal of the Championships, will now take on the reigning Asian Games silver medallist Mongolia’s Baatarsukh Chinzorig in the final.
Second seed Sanjeet (91kg) too made it to the final after defeating Tursunov Sanjar of Uzbekistan by 5-0. The Indian will face three-time Asian champion and Rio Olympics silver medallist Vassiliy Levit of Kazakhstan in the final.
Meanwhile, playing in the 69kg semi-finals, Vikas Krishan put up a courageous effort despite being hit above the eye. Vikas had sustained a cut above his eye in the previous bout and unfortunately, that cut opened up again.
The Doctor examined the cut and stopped the bout in the third minute of first round. However, on the basis of points scored till then, Vikas lost against Uzbekistan’s Baturov Bobo-Usmon with a split verdict.
On the other hand, Varinder Singh also couldn’t manage to get past Irani pugilist Daniyal Shahbakhsh as he conceded a narrow 2-3 defeat in the 60kg semi-final.
India is now assured of at least seven silver medals with four women already making their way into the finals earlier on Thursday at the prestigious event, which is jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and UAE Boxing Federation.
With 15 medals confirmed, Indian contingent also achieved their highest medal haul, surpassing the previous best of 13 (2 gold, 4 silver and 7 bronze) from the 2019 edition in Bangkok.
Final matches of women’s and men’s categories will take place on Sunday and Monday respectively.
The International Boxing Association, AIBA has allocated USD 4,00,000 prize money for the on-going Championships. The gold medallists of men’s and women’s categories will be awarded with USD 10,000 while both the silver and bronze medal winners will take home USD 5,000 and 2,500 respectively.
The event has witnessed the presence of 150 boxers from 17 countries including strong boxing nations such as India, Uzbekistan, Philippines and Kazakhstan.