Dubai [UAE], May 29 (ANI): Defending champion Amit Panghal punched his way into the men's 52kg final at the 2021 ASBC Asian Boxing Championships with an impressive win over Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov in the last-4 clash in Dubai on Friday.
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 a 4-0 win.
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 5-0 win.
Panghal will square off against the Rio Olympics and World Champion Zoirov Shakhobidin of Uzbekistan in the gold medal match on Monday.
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.
Meanwhile, 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 the first round. However, on the basis of points scored till then, Vikas lost against Uzbekistan's Baturov Bobo-Usmon with a split verdict.
Varinder Singh could not get past Irani pugilist Daniyal Shahbakhsh and lost 2-3 in the 60kg semi-final.
India is now assured of at least six 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, the 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.
On Friday six-time World Champion Mary Kom (51kg) alongside three more Indian women pugilists--Pooja Rani (75kg), Anupama (+81kg), and Lalbuatsahi (64kg)--progressed into the finals. The defending champion Pooja received a walk-over against Mongolia's Munkhbat. While in the other last-4 bouts late on Friday night, Lalbuatsaihi was declared the winner after her opponents from Kuwait Noura Almutairi abandoned the bout in the second round following the Indian's relentless attack. Anupama (+81+kg) also emerged victorious against Mokhira Abdullaeva of Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, it was heartbreak in the 54kg as the two-time youth world champion Sakshi Chaudhary, who was initially adjudged as the winner, lost her place in the final and had to settle with a bronze medal after the opponent Dina Zholaman appealed to review the last round of the bout. The jury upheld the claim and altered the result in favour of the Kazakh boxer.
Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Jaismine (57kg) Monika (48kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Saweety (81kg) are the other women boxers who secured bronze medals after facing defeats in their respective last-4 clashes.
The International Boxing Association, AIBA has allocated USD 4,00,000 prize money for the ongoing Championships. The gold medallists of men's and women's categories will be awarded USD 10,000 while both the silver and bronze medal winners will take home USD 5,000 and 2,500 respectively. The final matches of women's and men's categories will take place on Sunday and Monday respectively.
The event has witnessed the presence of 150 boxers from 17 countries including strong boxing nations such as India, Uzbekistan, the Philippines, and Kazakhstan. (ANI)