CHENNAI: In the past two months, boxer Amit Panghal underwent around a dozen of COVID-19 tests. Add to it, the rigorous training and competitive boxing bouts in foreign lands in the times of a pandemic. But the hard work and sacrifices were worth it in the end as the 52kg boxer returned home enriched with an invaluable experience and lots of confidence. His two gold medals in as many events during a 67-day Europe training and competition campaign was the icing on the cake.
"It was the best way to assess yourself. We never stopped training even during the lockdown. We always maintained the requisite fitness. The overseas trip was an opportunity to assess yourself and I can say it has given me a lot of confidence that things are going in the right direction," Panghal, who returned home along with other boxers on Sunday night, told this daily.
Playing in his first international event since the lockdown, he won gold at the Alexis Valentine International Boxing Tournament in October in Nantes, France. The 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championship silver medallist capped off the tour with another yellow metal at the Cologne World Cup in Germany a couple of days ago. Even though he was given a walkover in the final by his German opponent, his semifinal win over Billal Bennama was an indication of his growing stature.
"He (Bennama) is the bronze medallist at the World Boxing Championships. Winning a bout against him and entering the final gave a lot satisfaction." In total, Indian boxers won nine medals including three gold in the event. Amit was the lone male boxer to finish first as other two gold were won by women boxers.
Since his historic feat at the World Championships last year, the 25-year-old has been working on his power game and the Haryana boxer said the process will continue till he gains enough confidence.
"I want more power in my punches. The process is going on and this stint helped me train with several reputed boxers. You always learn something after every bout so in that sense it was a learning experience."
The boxers were training at NIS Patiala before flying out to, Assisi, Italy, in October. Before their departure, they were given a two-day break to stock up on essentials, including warm clothes given the weather in Italy. "It was a short visit but this break is a much-needed one for all of us as we have been training consistently for more than six months now. It will help us recover as well before joining the camp again.
As far as I know, we all will reassemble in the first week of January most probably at Bellary in Vijayanagar (Karnataka) for the national camp," said Panghal, who is among nine boxers to have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.