Victory over Olympic champ Dusmatov no fluke, can do it again: Asian Games 2018 gold medallist Amit Panghal
Amit Panghal stunned the reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan to win the men’s light flyweight (49 kilogram) category at the Asian Games 2018.
Updated: Sep 05, 2018 12:50:00
Calling his gold medal-winning show at the recently-concluded Asian Games 2018 as no flash in the pan, ace Indian boxer Amit Panghal said that he is capable of beating the reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov again if they come face-to-face in the future.
Panghal stunned the boxing world by beating Uzbekistan’s Dusmatov in the final of the 49kg category to win the yellow metal at Jakarta. In an exclusive conversation with Hindustan Times, the champion boxer said that this win has boosted his confidence and he is now ready to win against athletes of such calibre at bigger multi-nation tournaments like Olympics.
“Initially, there was pressure on me as I had lost to (Hasanboy) Dusmatov at the World Championships. But I had trained hard this time and was confident that I will be able to defeat him,” Panghal said.
“And next time, whenever I will come up against him, I will know that I have defeated him in the past and so, can do it again.”
Overall, India boxers failed to light up the Games as a contingent of ten pugilists could muster only two medals. Moreover, India failed to win a single women’s medal in boxing for the first time since women’s boxing was included in the Games. But that gloom was somewhat lifted by Panghal’s golden touch at the fag end of the sporting extravaganza.
“This medal means a lot to me because I have achieved what I had set out to achieve in the first place. My coaches told me to return home victorious and I too, was very confident in my abilities because I had trained really well prior to the Games and that worked in my favour,” Panghal said.
It was not just his coaches that spurred him to do well but the sacrifices that his family had put in, who ensured that his talent isn’t wasted. Panghal revealed that his brother wanted to become a champion boxer as well but had to give up the sport due to lack of resources.
“My elder brother was also a boxer but for my career’s sake, he gave up boxing. We come from a middle-class family and that is why he had to quit and join the army (to support the family).”
But now, it seems that he has put those difficult times behind him as after his gold medal outing at the Asiad, good wishes are flying in for the 22-year-old from Mayana (Haryana). One such well-wisher is legendary Hindi film actor Dharmendra, who has expressed his desire to meet Panghal, after getting to know that the boxer’s family adore him.
“My father and coach are big fans of Dharmendra. Whenever his movie is coming on TV, my father doesn’t even allow us to change the channel during ad breaks. While my coach keeps Dharmendra’s picture as his wallpaper and always says ‘hero to ek hi hai’ (there is only one actor in Bollywood),” Panghal said.
‘It is my dream to meet him and will try to meet him (Dharmendra) in person soon as I was elated when he replied saying that he is also eager to meet me,” a visibly happy Panghal signed off.
First Published: Sep 05, 2018 08:56:02