Asian boxing: Indian squad set for best-ever medal haul in Dubai

Boxing - Vikash Krishnan
India’s Vikas Krishan (right) scored a creditable win against Iran’s Moslem Malamir 4-1 in the 69kg quarter finals on Wednesday. Image Credit: BFI

Kolkata: Indian pugilists ensured their highest ever tally at the 2021 ASBC Asian Boxing Championships in Dubai on Wednesday – looking at 15 medals to better their haul of 13 of the 2019 edition.

Amit Panghal, a silver medallist at the last World Championship, lived up to his reputation as he defeated Kharkhuu Enkhmandakh 3-2 in the 52kg quarter-finals at the Grand Ballroom of Le Meridien Hotel. Vikas Krishan and Varinder also registered victories and assured India two more medals to take the tally to 15.

In the 52kg last eight clash, both Panghal and Enkhmandakh started the contest in a contrasting manner. While Indian made a cautious start, the Mongolian was aggressive from the word go. However, Panghal quickly shifted gears as both the boxers exchanged some heavy blows in a fast paced fierce battle. With some timely punches, top-seeded Panghal edged past the opponent and sealed the verdict in his favour in a closely-fought game.

With this victory, the defending champion Panghal confirmed his third successive Asian Championship medal after gold in 2019 and bronze in 2017. In the last four clash, Panghal will take on Kazakh boxer Saken Bibossinov, whom he beat in the 2019 World Championships semi-finals.

Extending India’s winning run on the third day of the championship, which is jointly hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and UAE Boxing Federation, Varinder Singh (60kg) outclassed Samuel Dela Cruz of Philippines 5-0 in one-sided quarter-final and handed India their 14th medal at the prestigious event. He will now square off against Iran’s Daniyal Shahbakhsh in the semi-finals.

In the third Indian bout of the day, World Championship bronze medallist Vikas Krishan scored a creditable win against Iran’s Moslem Malamir 4-1 in 69kg quarter finals. Vikas will face stiff challenge from top seed and defending Champion Bobo Usmon Baturov of Uzbekistan in the semi-finals.

Having secured medals in their respective category, 10 Indian women boxers including six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit (60kg), Sakshi (54kg), Jaismine (57kg), Lalbuatsaihi (64kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Monika (48kg), Saweety (81kg) and Anupama (+81kg) will contest their respective semi-finals on Thursday.