CHENNAI: Amit Panghal’s appetite for success has seen him become the latest superstar in Indian boxing. With medals in the World and Asian Championships and Commonwealth Games, the Haryana youngster is making winning a habit.
And with the mother of all events — Olympics — on the horizon, his thirst for success has increased. Last year, the 24-year-old became a path-breaker by becoming the first Indian man to clinch a silver medal at the World Championships. This feat generated plenty of buzz. But for Amit, loss in the final had planted doubts in his mind.
For the last few months, the boxer from Rohtak has been looking to add power to his game. “In the World Championships final, I realised that I fell short due to shortage of power. Hence, I’m keen on making that aspect of my game stronger,” said Amit, who had been training at the Inspire Institute of Sport in Karnataka’s Vijayanagar until Monday.
To enhance power, the armyman has been lifting more weights during training sessions and he has added more power punches to his bag-interval training. The 52kg fighter has also be sparring against bigger and stronger boxers from the 57kg category. “That aside, I’m also working on my reach and speed, things that are essential in our sport.”
Amit will look to raise his game further at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala, where the national camp is being held after it was recently announced that the Asia/Oceania qualifiers have been postponed till next month. The qualifiers, which were supposed to be held in Wuhan, China, is scheduled to be held in Jordan from March 3-11. Despite plans getting disrupted, the southpaw is positive. “It’s alright. We’ll get more time to practice. We have had quality training and we will look to build on it.”
Amit & Co had recently tested their mettle against rivals from Italy and Australia, who had come to train in Vijayanagar. “The sparring sessions were of high quality and we were well prepared for the competition (qualifiers).” he said. That was when Amit stood toe-to-toe against 57kg rivals and gave a good account of himself. “He had solid sparring sessions with Italian and Australian boxers. We put him against 57kg boxers and he handled them very well,” said Santiago Nieva, India’s high performance director.
The AIBA three-star coach has been as active as Amit in the background, helping his ward become a more rounded boxer. “Amit’s main game is boxing in and out, keeping a good range and surprising rivals from different angles. He needs to improve his play from the close range and use his power,” Nieva noted.
Fuelled by Olympic dreams, Amit’s quest to become more powerful could make him invincible. And he’s confident of acing the qualifiers. “It shouldn’t be tough. Given that I have faced many rivals from the continent, I know their strengths and weaknesses. I believe I can deal with the challenges that my rivals pose.”