Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 21
Boxer Amit Panghal sounds content. Not only has he had two great months on the road with the national boxing team, he also won two gold medals — one in the Alexis Vastine International tournament in France and the second at the Cologne Boxing World Cup.
Now back home in Mayna, Rohtak, he is feasting on the one thing he misses most on the road — tawa roti and churma made by his mother.
“It is the first time I am home in over two-and-a-half months, so I am happy. We have been given some time off after our foreign exposure and home is where you can relax a bit. But this doesn’t mean I’ll be off training! It’s just that the load will be lighter,” Panghal told The Tribune on Monday.
The boxing team, both men and women, today returned to the country after spending over two months out on a training-cum-exposure trip that started in Assisi, Italy. The tour culminated with participation at the Cologne World Cup in Germany, where the Indians won nine medals, including three gold medals.
“Frankly speaking, it was good that we got the opportunity to go out to train and compete because it was getting difficult to stay motivated without competitions. And thankfully, we as a team did well in terms of winning medals and that showed that we are on the right path,” Panghal said.
While Panghal was happy with two gold medals in the flyweight category on the tour, he was more pleased with the fact that he was able to execute a few changes in his boxing style that chief coach AC Kutappa and high performance director Santiago Nieva wanted him to work on. Essentially a counterpuncher, Panghal was starting cautiously in the first round of most of his bouts.
With the new rules, if there’s a neck-to-neck fight in the second round, the referees have shown a tendency to award the round to the boxer who won the previous round.
Panghal’s 0-5 loss to Ukraine’s Shakhobidin Zoirov in the 2019 World Championship final in Yekaterinburg was a prime example of him starting slow and then being unable to make a comeback.
In addition, the southpaw had a tendency to rarely use his right hook as he was more comfortable with using his left jab. “Both I and Santiago have been telling him to work on these things. He is a clever and accomplished boxer but we cannot afford to start slowly at any tournament, let alone at the Olympics. If you stay passive in the first round, then it becomes very difficult to recover,” Kutappa explained.
“But on this tour, we saw a change and he has started to use his right more. He landed a few right hooks too. So he is on the right track,” the chief coach added.
Panghal agreed that enhancement in his boxing style was needed to stay with the times. “It is true that I used to observe my opponents in the first round. That was my style but the coaches have been telling me to start positively from the first round and I was able to do that on this trip,” the Asian Games gold medallist said.
“I picked up a few points from my right this time. It is a work in progress and it will take some more time to fully adapt to this but I am working hard,” he added.