CHENNAI: Winning isn’t everything. This conventional wisdom is apt for pugilist Amit Panghal. Making his bow at the ongoing World Championships, the Haryana lad showed that he has plenty of steel.
With his lightening movements and drive to win, the 49-kg boxer earned respect from all quarters while progressing to the quarters, before he was pitted against Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan.
Going in as the clear underdog, he gave it all but Hasanboy was in a league of his own and cut the Indian down to size to emerge clear winner on the day. Hasanboy went on to put up an equally dominating fight in the semis and is favourite to win the title. The end result was a major blow for India as a win would have assured him a medal. Reflecting on his fighting display, Amit is happy with the outing.
“It was a rich experience. Now, I have a fair idea on the level of competition here. I got to see many boxers with their unique styles and how to fare against them,” Amit told Express from Hamburg.
“If I were up against some other boxer, I would have definitely had a very good chance to enter the medal rounds. But then, that’s the nature of the competition. We cannot complain,” he added.
It has been an eventful year for Amit so far. Having been part of the national senior squad since last year, the 21-year-old got his first chance to represent India earlier this year at the Asian Championships, where he made an instant impression with a bronze medal. Late last year, he had displayed early promise with a gold medal during the national championship which was held in Guwahati.
The diminutive boxer who started boxing in 2009 revealed that it was his elder brother Ajay who introduced him to the sport. “My family has always backed me a great deal, especially my brother who pushed me to take up boxing.” Hailing from Maina village in Rohtak, his father who is into farming has also been equally supportive. “My father is another person who has always been a big motivation. He always tells me to take the fight with an open heart without worrying about the outcome. He just wants me to give my 100 per cent.”
Amit’s promise had already been recognised by the government. He is one of the 45 athletes named in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). With support from all quarters, Amit is already looking into the future with big dreams in mind. “This time I fell just short but I want to win medals for the country in future, either at the worlds or at the Olympics.”