Amit Panghal, Sanjeet strike gold in France

In their first tournament in eight months, Panghal and Sanjeet won gold while Kavinder Singh settled for silver.

By Rahul Venkat ·

World Championships silver-medallist Amit Panghal made the perfect return to competitive boxing by winning gold at the Alexis Vastine International Boxing Tournament in Nantes, France on Friday.

The top-ranked 52kg boxer in the world, Panghal beat American Abraham Rene Perez 3-0 in the final.

“It was a very good experience to get the feeling of competition and win a gold medal after the long break. It will help me assess my preparation for the Olympics,” Panghal told the Hindustan Times.

Amit Panghal has already secured his berth at the Tokyo Olympics in what will be his maiden Games appearance and is considered as one of the favourites to bring home a medal.

Fellow Indian boxer Sanjeet made it a second gold for India on the day as he beat local boxer Soheb Boufai in the 91kg final.

India was in with a chance of a third gold but Asian Championships silver-medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht fell 2-1 in the 75kg final to home favourite Samuel Kistohurry.

In total, Indian boxers won six medals at the event as London 2012 Olympian Shiva Thapa (63kg), Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and Satish Kumar (91kg) won bronze earlier on Friday after falling in the semi-finals.

Satish Kumar is the only one among the trio of bronze medallists to have earned a berth for Tokyo 2020.

The tournament in Nantes, France was another step in the Indian boxers’ preparation to return to competitive action.

A 15-member contingent - including five of the nine Indian boxers who have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics - had flown out to Assisi, Italy earlier this month for a training camp.

London 2012 bronze-medallist MC Mary Kom had opted out of making the trip as she was recovering from a bout of dengue while Lovlina Borgohain was forced to stay home after testing COVID-positive.