Packing a punch!

Dubai, May 26

Defending champion Amit Panghal (52kg) and debutant Varinder Singh (60kg) advanced to the semifinals as India were assured of an unprecedented 14 medals in the Asian Boxing Championships here today.

Panghal secured a second successive medal after overcoming a stiff challenge from Mongolia’s Kharkhuu Enkhmandakh in the last-eight stage, while Varinder defeated Filipino Jere Samuel Dela Cruz. India’s previous best medal haul was 13, achieved in 2019.

Simranjit Kaur after defeating Uzbekistan’s Raykhona Kodirova. PTI

Panghal, who is bound for Tokyo Olympics, won 3-2 in a high-octane contest. The World Championships silver medallist overcame a sluggish start and used his combination punches to telling effect in the last two rounds.

After being somewhat bested in the opening three minutes, the top-seeded Army man’s trademark pace came to the fore in the second round as he cleverly dodged his rival’s aggressive punching.

The Mongolian produced some fine body punches to unsettle Panghal but took quite a few hits on the counterattack.

Panghal will square off against Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov next. He had beaten Bibossinov 3-2 in the 2019 World Championship semifinals.

National champion Varinder scored on counterattacks against the swift-moving Dela Cruz to secure a 5-0 win and a medal on debut at the event.

Late on Tuesday night, Sanjeet (91kg), Sakshi (54kg), Jasmine (57kg) and the Olympics-bound Simranjit Kaur (60kg) joined Shiva Thapa (64kg) in the last-four stage following wins in their quarterfinal bouts.

India Open gold medallist Sanjeet defeated Jasur Qurbonov of Tajikistan 5-0. His next opponent is last edition’s silver medallist Sanjar Tursunov. The Uzbek has been seeded third this year.

In the women’s competition, Sakshi (54kg) got the better of Tajikistan’s Ruhafzo Haqazarova 5-0 to set up a clash against top seed Dina Zholaman of Kazakhstan.

Jasmine edged past Oyuntsetseg Yesugen of Mongolia 4-1 and will now square off against Vladislava Kukhta of Kazakhstan.

Simranjit, who recently recovered from Covid-19, defeated Raykhona Kodirova of Uzbekistan 4-1. Her next opponent is Kazakhstan’s Rimma Volossenko. — PTI

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