In what has been an enthralling display of endurance at the Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium, Panghal has lived up to the hype so far, thumping the likes of P.L. Prasad, Laldin Mawia and Jasurbek Lapitov of Uzbekistan.

 

Asian Games gold-medallist Amit Panghal has continued his fine form in the Big Bout Indian Boxing League after clinching silver at the World Championships this year. What separates him from the rest is his acrobatic skills as he advances, dances before launching a flurry of punches on his opponents.

In what has been an enthralling display of endurance at the Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium, Panghal has lived up to the hype so far, thumping the likes of PL Prasad, Laldin Mawia and Asian Games gold medallist Jasurbek Lapitov of Uzbekistan in the 51kg bout.

The 24-year-old believes tournaments like Big Bout and World Championships, slated to be held in India in 2021, will help players and the growth of sports in India, and provide much needed impetus before the Asian Championship in February.

In an interview with The Sunday Guardian, Panghal talks about his strategy against his opponents, performance of his team, Gujarat Giants, and his ultimate dream—the Olympics.

Excerpts:

Q. What has been your strategy so far in the Big Bout league? We saw PL Prasad among others throwing more punches, albeit in a losing cause. On the contrary, you were able to connect most of your punches…

A. Most of the opponent boxers try to get closer to you to land punches. So, my strategy was to maintain some distance and play my game. I have applied this strategy throughout this tournament and it has worked so far.

Q. You performed exceptionally well at the World Championships. Tell us how this tournament will help you before the Asian Championship which also happens to be Olympic qualifiers.

A. This tournament will help us in our preparation for the upcoming Asian Championship. Opponents are tough and level of competition is high. The bouts basically add to my experience and boost our morale.

Q. How helpful is it for boxing and young guns playing in the tournament?

A. Youngsters are getting a lot of chances to play the competitive sport through this tournament. We have seen a lot of young performers in 51kg. Help to these boxers will eventually do a lot of good to the national set-up in the future.

Q. How will you analyse Gujarat Giants’ performance so far?

A. We are playing very well. Our confidence is high and we are ready to battle it out whatever comes our way.

Q. Let’s talk about your owan game. How is your preparation going for the Olympic qualifiers?

A. My practice for the upcoming Asian Championship, which is also Olympic qualifiers, is going well. First aim is to get the Olympic quota in the very first attempt and prepare for the Olympics after that.

Q. Confident of clinching a medal in the Olympics?

A. I will try my best and expectations have increased manifold after the World Championships. I hope I bring a medal for India. Olympic is always on my mind. Although, I like to live in the present and prepare for my bouts but winning Olympic is the ultimate dream. My dream has always been to represent India in the Olympics and going by my current form, I am definitely looking forward to clinch a medal in Tokyo.

Q. What would be your advice for the budding boxers in the country?

A. Tournaments like Big Bout and the fact that India is hosting World Championships in 2021, future looks bright for boxing in India. My only advice to youngsters is to follow their coach’s instructions and bring medal for the country. It is a good time to be a boxer.

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