Indian boxers have performed brilliantly in the tournament.

Defending champion Amit Panghal punched his way into the men’s 52kg final at the 2021 ASBC Asian Boxing Championships after outpunching Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov in the last-4 clash in Dubai on Friday.

Later in the 64kg semifinal clash, continuing his brilliant form of the tournament Shiva Thapa also ensured his third final appearance at the Asian Championships as he sent top-seeded Bakhodur Usmonov of Tajikistan packing with 4-0 win.

During an intense battle between World Championships silver medallist Amit Panghal and bronze medallist Bibossinov, the Indian made a cautious start and tried to keep a distance from the opponent. He looked more aggressive later in the second round and hit some clean punches to put pressure on Bibossinov.

Panghal carried on the momentum throughout the match and stamped his authority over Kazakh boxer to secure a commanding 5-0 win. Aiming to win second successive gold, Amit Panghal will take on Rio Olympic champion Zoirov Shakhobidin of Uzbekistan in the gold medal match of the Asian Boxing Championships on Monday.

Meanwhile, playing in the 69kg semi-finals, Vikas Krishan put up a courageous effort despite being hit above the eye. Vikas had sustained a cut above his eye in the previous bout and unfortunately, that cut opened up again. The Doctor examined the cut and stopped the bout in the third minute of the first round.

However, on the basis of points scored till then, Vikas lost against Uzbekistan’s Baturov Bobo-Usmon with a split verdict. On the other hand, Varinder Singh also couldn’t manage to get past Irani pugilist Daniyal Shahbakhsh as he conceded a narrow 2-3 defeat in the 60kg semi-final.

India is now assured of at least five silver medals with four women already making their way into the finals earlier on Thursday. With 15 medals confirmed, the Indian contingent also achieved their highest medal haul, surpassing the previous best of 13 (2 gold, 4 silver and 7 bronze) from the 2019 edition in Bangkok.

On Thursday six-time World Champion Mary Kom (51kg) alongside three more Indian women pugilists—Pooja Rani (75kg), Anupama (+81kg) and Lalbuatsahi (64kg)—progressed into the finals of the Asian Boxing Championships.

The defending champion Pooja received a walk-over against Mongolia’s Munkhbat. While in the other last-4 bouts played late on Friday night, Lalbuatsaihi was declared the winner after her opponents from Kuwait Noura Almutairi abandoned the bout in the second round following the Indian’s relentless attack. Anupama (+81+kg) also emerged victorious against Mokhira Abdullaeva of Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile, it was heartbreak in the 54kg as Sakshi Chaudhary, who was initially adjudged as the winner, lost her place in the final and had to settle with a bronze medal after the opponent Dina Zholaman appealed to review the last round of bout. The jury upheld the claim and altered the result in favour of Kazakh boxer.

Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Jaismine (57kg) Monika (48kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Saweety (81kg) are the other women boxers who secured bronze medals after enduring defeats in their respective last-4 clashes.

The International Boxing Association, AIBA has allocated USD 4,00,000 prize money for the on-going Championships. The gold medallists of men’s and women’s categories will be awarded with USD 10,000 while both the silver and bronze medal winners will take home USD 5,000 and 2,500 respectively. Final matches of women’s and men’s categories will take place on Sunday and Monday respectively.

The event has witnessed the presence of 150 boxers from 17 countries including strong boxing nations such as India, Uzbekistan, Philippines and Kazakhstan.

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