Amit Panghal secured his first-ever ticket for the Olympics after prevailing with a 4-1 split in his quarter-final bout on Monday morning at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers in Amman, Jordan.
The Indian boxer conceded the first round but came back to win the next two, relying primarily on his counter punches to move into the semi-finals.
“We've achieved this ticket together,” Amit Panghal, who will face Hu Jianguan in the semi-finals, told the Olympic Channel after his win. “I want to thank my coaches and the support staff for motivating us.
“They work very hard and without the support of the coaches, players can't achieve much,” he added.
The other two Indian boxers fighting in the morning session failed to secure qualification for Tokyo 2020 though.
Sakshi Chaudary lost her women’s featherweight quarter-final via unanimous decision, while Manish Kaushik went down in his Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers quarter-final bout after a 2-3 split.
Amit Panghal qualifies for his first-ever Olympics
The top seeded Indian took on the Philippines’ Carlo Paalam in what was a close contest, which could have gone either way.
Carlo Paalam was on the front foot straight from the outset, landing a left straight and a right cross early on.
Both boxers had heavy exchanges towards the midway point of the round, looking to get a measure of each other.
The Philippines pugilist continued to connect and managed to find a way through Amit Panghal’s guard with some clunking shots to win the opening round 3-2.
Carlo Paalam maintained his intensity in attack in the second round with sharp shots that were leaving their mark on Amit Panghal.
After a quiet start to the second round, the Indian flyweight started landing some counter punches in the midway point.
Amit Panghal also ended the round strongly, landing a solid left-right combination along with some stiff counter punches from a low stance.
As a result, the Indian boxer won the second round. However, whether or not it should have been 4-1 in his favour is up for debate.
Carlo Paalam looked livelier at the start of the last round as well while catching Amit Panghal with a right hand followed by a left uppercut.
Amit Panghal’s primary weapon in the round was his counter left hook, which became his main source of points in the bout.
The final 10 seconds of the fight saw a burst of energy from Amit Panghal, who threw plenty of punches to close the round three and that was enough to impress the judges, who gave him a 4-1 split decision win.
Sakshi Chaudhary exits Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers
Earlier, Sakshi Chaudhary fell short in her quarter-final bout against South Korea’s Aeji Im at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers.
There was not much action early on with both fighters starting tentatively although Aeji Im was the busier of the two.
The South Korean began to find her feet after landing a beautiful right-left combo and a left straight to Sakshi Chaudary’s face.
Aeji Im was winning the battle for ring position with Sakshi Chaudhary struggling to close the gap as the South Korean continued to connect with her punches to win the first round 4-1.
Sakshi Chaudhary looked to fight on the front foot in the second round but seemed to frequently get caught with Aeji Im’s left lead.
The Indian featherweight caught Aeji Im with a right counter, but the South Korean smarted up after that, looking to keep her distance and make Sakshi Chaudhary pursue her.
This tactic worked perfectly for Aeji Im, who was using her swift feet and movement to close the distance, land punches and weave away from the Indian.
The last minute of the round saw Sakshi Chaudhary land a few punches albeit without much power. She also ended the round with a right jab but Aeji Im won it 5-0.
The final round was similar to the third with the Indian chasing the South Korean around the ring for most of it.
With two rounds in the bag, Aeji Im demonstrated her intelligence with sharp movement while also getting in some scoring shots.
Despite her best efforts, closing the distance quickly proved to be problematic for Sakshi Chaudhary as she lost the last round.
With no box-offs for the losing quarter-finalists at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers, Sakshi Chaudhary – if chosen by India’s boxing federation – will have another chance of qualifying for the Olympics in the global qualifiers slated to take place at Paris in May.
Manish Kaushik enters the box-off
The Indian lightweight faced third seed Chinzorig Baatarsukh in what was an action-packed fight that ebbed and flowed.
The Mongolian began the opening round with a cracking right to Manish Kaushik. He kept landing sharp rights and left hooks and was blitzing the round up until the midway point when Manish Kaushik caught him with a southpaw left.
That shot changed the momentum in favour of Manish Kaushik, who finished the round stronger of the two.
He began countering well by landing lefts while backing away before delivering a left hook and a roundhouse left at the bell to win the first round 4-1.
Round two saw a change in tactics for Chinzorig Baatarsukh, who began unloading a flurry of hard body shots.
Manish Kaushik fought back with sharp counters to the Mongolian’s head and looked to move away from him to avoid fighting Chinzorig Baatarsukh on the inside, where the Indian’s body was being heavily targeted.
Having said that, the third seed landed his fair share of shots and had a healthy punch output in the second round to win it 5-0 by unanimous decision.
Manish Kaushik began the final round with a spearing left but it was mostly all Chinzorig Baatarsukh after that.
Two body shots with his right to the exact same spot by Chinzorig Baatarsukh seemed to hurt Manish Kaushik, who spent the rest of the round on retreat.
With his investment in body shops reaping rewards, Chinzorig Baatarsukh wasn’t ready to relent and continued to punish a weary Manish Kaushik’s body.
The Mongolian ended the round with a good left jab and cracking right to Manish Kaushik’s chin to win the bout by split decision 3-2.
When and where to watch the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers
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