Commonwealth Games gold medalist Amit Panghal and national champion Sachin put in impressive performances to win gold medals at the 75th Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria on Sunday.
Amit Panghal (51kg) registered an impressive 5-0 win over defending world champion Sanjhar Tashkanbe. Like his previous performances in the tournament, Amit dominated his opponent with pinpoint accuracy and pace in his attacks. National champion Amit was on target with his trademark jab and left hook on most occasions and did not let up even for a second.
As the bout progressed, the Indian boxer became more dominant and remained in aggressive mode even in the third round. Sajakh kept looking for a way out throughout the match but Amit stood firm and won the gold medal by unanimous decision for the fourth consecutive time in the tournament.
Amit Panghal after defeating current world champion Sanjhar Tashkenbay. , Photo Credit: BFI Media
Unlike the first match, Sachin (57kg) took some time to compete against Uzbekistan’s Shakhzod Muzafarov. Both the boxers were equally dominant in the first round, although Sachin managed to win it by a slim margin of 3-2.
As the match progressed, the Haryana boxer grew in confidence and he took advantage of his height and perfectly timed his punches in the second and third rounds to win by a 5-0 margin.
Meanwhile, defending world champion Nikhat Zareen missed out on winning her third Strandja gold medal after losing 2-3 in a closely contested match against Uzbekistan’s Sabina Bobokulova. Nikhat did not have a good start and her Uzbek counterpart became aggressive from the start.
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The Indian boxer had to face defeat 1-4 in the first round. Nikhat found her rhythm in the second round, but former Junio Asian champion Sabina was too strong defensively, and her quick head movements made it difficult for Nikhat to connect punches as she trailed 2-3 in the second round .
The momentum changed in the third round when the 27-year-old boxer from Telangana went into full attacking mode and won the round 5-0. However, this was not enough to win the meet, as they had to settle for a silver medal.
Arundhati Chaudhary (66 kg) almost achieved a historic victory against China’s Yang Liu. The final was very exciting and current world champion Yang won the match 4-1. Both boxers were initially hesitant and did not engage in attacks as they waited for each other to make a move. Arundhati lost the first round 2-3.
Asian Games gold medalist Yang relied on her experience, used calculated moves and prioritized her defence. He strategically scored points at regular intervals and eventually won the match.
Barun Singh Shagolshem (48kg) lost 0-4 to Kyrgyzstan’s Khodzhiev Anvarzhan in the final. The crowd witnessed an explosive start as both boxers tried to score points early in the match. Barun managed to make a mark in the early minutes but it was the Kyrgyzstani boxer who was the more aggressive of the two. Barun lost the first round 1-4. The Kyrgyz boxer stood up to the challenge in the second round and even started the countdown against Barun to win it 5-0.
The Indian boxers managed to put up a tough challenge in the third round and won it 3-2, but the final decision went against them.
Rajat (67kg) was the last boxer to face Team India against Bekbaev Dulat of Kazakhstan. The match was completely even as it seemed as if it could go in anyone’s favour. Both boxers used their power and delivered several blows at regular intervals. The Kazakh boxer scored regularly in the second and third rounds and made calculated moves, which also helped him in the final round, giving him a 3-2 win in the match.
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