Indian boxer Amit Panghal edged out reigning Olympic and continental champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in a bitterly fought final to win gold in the men’s light flyweight (49 kilograms) category at the 2018 Asian Games here on Saturday.
The 22-year-old earned a split decision to earn India’s only boxing gold from this year’s Games.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 1, 2018
With Vikas Krishan settling for the silver medal in the men’s middleweight (75kg) division, the Indian boxing contingent will return with two medals from this edition of the Asian Games.
There was very little to choose between the two boxers with the judges ruling 3-2 in Amit’s favour.
Despite facing one of the best boxers in the world in his weight category, Amit matched his opponent blow for blow throughout the bout.
The opening bout got off to a slow start with both boxers trying to assess each other. Amit was the more aggressive boxer and tried to push the Uzbek on to the back foot with his attacking style.
The Indian’s superior height and reach also allowed him to throw punches from a distance and keep out of his opponent’s reach.
Although Dusmatov did use his excellent counter punching skills to land scoring punches, for most of the bout he struggled to get in range which would have allowed him to launch a proper assault.
The 2016 Rio Olympics champion used his excellent defence to keep the Indian’s blows at bay while his footwork forced Amit to do most of the hard work.
Dusmatov tried to force the initiative mid way through the second round but Amit did well to hold his own. The Haryana boxer almost managed to knock his rival down but Dusmatov managed to stay on his feet.
With very little separating the two opponents after the first two rounds, both Amit and Dusmatov tried to up the ante in the third and final period. Amit maintained his attacking tempo and employed a lower guard in the third round as the Uzbek star struggled to match his pace.