India’s biggest medal hope from the World Boxing Championships – Amit Panghal etched his name into the history of Boxing as he became the first-ever male pugilist from the country to reach the finals of the prestigious event in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Amit defeated Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov in a hard-fought semifinal encounter of the 52 kg Flyweight category to book a spot in the final of the world’s event. He wins the bout by split decision to become the first Indian male boxer to do so.

In the final of World C’ships, the 23-year-old Haryana boxer will face Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov, who is the reigning Olympic champion in this weight category. Zoirov defeated France’s Billal Bennama 5-0 in the other semifinal.

This has been a wonderful outing for India in the World’s event in Russia as both Amit and Manish Kaushik secured two medals for the country in single edition. India had never won more than one bronze medal in a single edition of the World Championship. The overall medal count for the country stood at four bronze medals claimed by Vijender Singh (2009), Vikas Krishan (2011), Shiva Thapa (2015) and Gaurav Bidhuri (2017).

Other Indian male pugilists, Sanjeet (91kg), a former India Open gold-medallist, and fifth seed and Asian silver-winner Kavinder Singh Bisht (57kg) bowed out after losing their respective quarterfinals.

“The bout went very well for me although I had to put in more effort than I had thought. It is a huge achievement for Indian boxing and I am thankful for all the support that I have got,” Panghal said after the triumph.

In the other semifinal, Manish Kaushik (63kg) signed off with a bronze medal after going down 0-5 against Andy Gomez Cruz of Cuba. Kaushik struggled to keep up with the Cuban, whose counter-attacking game was simply outstanding. Kaushik did get a few body punches through but couldn’t fend off the counter-strikes that came his way in all the three rounds.

“I gave it my all but I guess there are a few things lacking in my game, which I will try to improve on. I will work harder and deliver better results in the coming tournaments,” Kaushik said.