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Asian boxing: Panghal, Thapa provide silver lining for India on final day

Kolkata: India's Olympic medal hopeful Amit Panghal went down fighting against the reigning Olympics champion Zoirov Shakhobidin in a hard-fought men’s 52kg final on the closing day of the 2021 ASBC Asian Boxing Championships in Dubai on Monday.

A defending champion in his kg class, Panghal put up a great fight against the world champion but it wasn’t enough for the Indian to go past Uzbek boxer as he suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat with 29-28, 28-29, 28-29, 28-29, 30-27 scoreline.

Another Indian pugilist, Shiva Thapa (64kg) too suffered a close defeat by split 2-3 against the Asian Games silver medallist Mongolia’s Baatarsukh Chinzorig. The world championships bronze medallist from Assam is the only second male boxer in the world to win five medals at the Asian Championships. 

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The 19-member Indian contingent finished with an unprecedented 15 medals and ensured the country’s best-ever show - surpassing the previous best of 13 medals (two gold, four silver and seven bronze) achieved during the 2019 edition in Bangkok.

Earlier, during the high-voltage 52kg summit clash between top two seeds, both boxers showed great skills and attacked from the word go. The second round saw defending champion Panghal taking time as he was more accurate, hit timely punches with more power and was sharp in defence as well. However, Shakhobidin fought back well in time and managed to tilt the game in his favour.

Later Sanjeet (91kg) will play their respective finals. Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Varinder Singh (60kg) have secured bronze medals in the men’s section with their semi-final finish.

Women's haul

In the women’s section on Sunday, Pooja Rani (75kg) clinched her second successive gold medal while seasoned campaigner Mary Kom (51kg), Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) and Anupama (+81kg) grabbed silver medals. Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Jaismine (57kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (54kg), Monika (48kg) and Saweety (81kg) secured bronze as all the boxers of 10-member Indian women’s team returned with medals at the championships, jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and UAE Boxing Federation.