Addressed flaws during Europe training, am a better boxer now: Amit Panghal

Indian boxer Amit Panghal and the Tokyo Olympics-bound squad spent quality time in Italy and took part in two tournaments in France and Germany.

By Utathya Nag ·

Indian ace Amit Panghal believes he has returned from Europe a much better boxer.

The Tokyo Olympics-bound boxer recently flew back to India after a two-and-half-month-long training cum exposure camp in Europe with India's elite contingent of boxers.

During their visit, the group trained at the Olympic Centre in Assisi, Italy, and participated in two tournaments - the Alexis Vastine international boxing tournament in Nantes, France, and the Cologne Boxing World Cup in Germany. The Indian boxers won multiple medals in both with Panghal securing two gold medals of his own.

“We as a team did well in terms of winning medals and that showed that we are on the right path,” Amit Panghal told the Tribune.

The current AIBA flyweight world No. 1 was happy with his medal haul but insisted his biggest takeaway from the trip were the few technical tweaks to his game.

Panghal is known to be a dangerous counterpuncher but one of the biggest criticisms of his game has been that he is a slow starter - a feature which has cost him in the past, including the 2019 world championships final against Ukraine’s Shakhobidin Zoirov.

“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,” Panghal declared.

The southpaw also showcased much better use of his weaker right arm during the two events - an improvement which is sure to bolster his armoury.

“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 stated.

India's boxing chief coach AC Kutappa agreed with the boxer's assessment and revealed both he and high performance director Santiago Nieva have been working with Panghal to improve these aspects.

“Amit 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 observed.

“But on this tour, we saw a change and he has also started to use his right more. So he is on the right track," Kutappa added.

The tournaments saw Indian boxers return to competitive events after a long COVID-enforced lockdown and Panghal thinks it was much-needed.

"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," Kutappa said.

Back home now, the Indian boxers, including Panghal, will be on a short break over Christmas and New Year before reassembling for a national camp in January.