Asian boxing: Sanjeet lights up Indian camp with gold in 91kg (Round-up)

Sanjeet on Monday put up a solid show against the three-time Asian champion Vassiliy Levit of Kazakhstan in the men’s 91kg final to hand India its second gold of the Asian Championships in Dubai. Pooja Rani had clinched the first gold in the women’s 75kg on Sunday.

Sanjeet registered a convincing 4-1 win against the 2016 Olympic silver medallist Levit as the Indian contingent concluded its successful campaign with an unprecedented 15 medals, including two gold, five silver and eight bronze medals.

Earlier on Sunday, Amit Panghal (52kg) and Shiva Thapa (64kg) lost their final matches.

The 19-member Indian contingent ensured that it was the country’s best ever show at the continental meet, surpassing the previous highest of 13 medals, achieved during the 2019 edition in Bangkok.

Six-time world champion MC Marykom (51kg), Panghal, Thapa, Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) and Anupama (+81kg) grabbed silver medals while eight boxers — Vikas Krishan (69kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Jaismine (57kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (54kg), Monika (48kg), Saweety (81kg), and Varinder Singh (60kg) — bagged bronze.

The 2020 edition was not held due to Covid pandemic.

On Monday, Panghal went down fighting 2-3 against reigning Olympic and world champion Zoirov Shakhobidin of Uzbekistan in the hard-fought 52kg final. The Indian put up a great fight but it wasn’t enough, as he lost 29-28, 28-29, 28-29, 28-29, 30-27.

During the high-voltage summit clash between top two seeds, both boxers showed great skill and attacked their opponent from the word go.

In the second round, Panghal took time as he was more accurate, hit timely punches with more power and was sharp in defence as well. However, Shakhobidin fought back well in time and managed to tilt the game in his favour.

Thapa too suffered a close defeat by split 2-3 decision against the Asian Games silver medallist Mongolia’s Baatarsukh Chinzorig.

Thapa, a World Championships bronze medallist, is only the second male boxer in the world to win five medals at the Asian Championships. The 27-year-old Assam boxer had won gold in 2013, silver in 2017 and two bronze in 2015 and 2019.

“Despite all the uncertainties our boxers had to undergo, it is absolutely heartening to see them ending the campaign with 15 medals and some close decisions that of Amit Panghal and Marykom in the finals. Our boxers have yet again ensured a record-breaking feat and I am extremely proud of each one of them,” said Ajay Singh, president of the Boxing Federation of India.