Boxer Amit Panghal took a giant step towards securing an Olympic berth as he beat Mongolia’s Enkhmanadakh Kharkhuu in the Asian Qualifiers to progress to the quarterfinal of the 52-kg category. Panghal, who won a silver at the World Championships last year, emerged victorious, being awarded the bout in a split 3-2 verdict. He is now one win away from booking a spot at Tokyo Games. Also Read - Ziva Amps up Cuteness Quotient, Turns Make-up Artist For MS Dhoni During Lockdown | WATCH VIDEO
Panghal’s vicious attacks saw him dominate the first two rounds. The left-handed pugilist used his strong arm and displayed a flurry of cuts and jabs to catch Kharkhuu off guard. Panghal, received a surprise combination of attacks from his opponent in the final three minutes but such was his year domination in the first half of the bout that it wasn’t enough from preventing the verdict from going against the 23-year-old. Also Read - Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar Feature in Wasim Jaffer's All-Time ODI XI
Last month, Phangal was ranked World No. 1 in the 52kg weight category by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Boxing Task Force. As a result, Panghal became only the second Indian boxer to reach the pinnacle since Vijender Singh peaked in 2009 with a world championships bronze.
Panghal has enjoyed tremendous success since 2017. After bagging gold medals at the Commonwealth and Asian Games in 2018, he became the first Indian to win a world championship silver medal in 2019.
The Asian qualifiers were originally scheduled to be held in Wuhan, China but considering the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the province, they were shifted to Amman, Jordan. Scheduled to be held on March 3-11, the Asian qualifiers, as well as the final world qualifiers in Paris, stand to further add to the 420 points which lifted Panghal to the top of the rankings and help him ensure a seeding at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.