Asian Boxing Championship: India’s Sanjeet Kumar wins gold medal in 91 kg category

Sanjeet defeated beat Kazakistan’s Vassiliy Levit in a 3-2 split decision in the 91 kg final

Asian Boxing Championship: India’s Sanjeet Kumar wins gold medal in 91 kg category

India’s pugilist Sanjeet Kumar on Monday won a gold medal in the 91 kg weight category at the ASBC Asian Boxing Championships.

Sanjeet pulled off a massive upset as he defeated five-time Asian Championships medallist and Rio Olympic silver medalist Vassiliy Levit of Kazakhstan in a 3-2 split decision in the final of Asian Championships in Dubai on Monday to clinch the gold medal.

Earlier, defending champion Amit Panghal (52kg) and Shiva Thapa (64kg) lost gruelling and close final bouts in the Asian Boxing Championships to fetch silver medals here on Monday with the country seeking a review of the former's defeat.

Panghal lost 2-3 to known nemesis Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in what was a repeat of the 2019 world championship final, which had also ended in Zoirov's favour.

India sought a review of the second round of the bout which Panghal won on a split count but looked to have dominated completely. The result of the review will be known later.

Thapa (64kg) also lost by the same margin to Mongolia's Baatarsukh Chinzorig, the reigning Asian Games silver-medallist. This was Thapa's fifth successive podium finish at the showpiece and second silver.

Both the contests had the Indian boxers doing most things right but not getting the judges' nod.

The Panghal-Zoirov clash lived up to the hype with both the Olympic-bound boxers engaged in a fast exchange of punches from the very first round.

Zoirov claimed the opening round. But in the second round, Panghal raised his game by a notch, evading Zoirov's range with his pace and landing his left straights precisely. Zoirov, on the other hand, struggled to connect.

The two went all out in the third round but it was Panghal who was more impressive with his body shots despite an injured eye.

He even had the judges' verdict in his favour for the round but it was not enough to alter the final score-line.

Thapa was equally impressive against Chinzorig, rallying brilliantly after losing the opening round.

With 15 medals int this edition, India surpassed its previous best-ever show at this Championship, achieved in 2019, when the country secured 13 medals in all, including two gold.

On Monday, Pooja Rani (75kg) was the lone woman boxer to strike gold, while six-time world champion M C Mary Kom (51kg), and tournament debutants Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) and Anupama (81+kg) ended with silver medals after close losses in the women's finals.

Eight other Indians -- Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), and Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), and Jaismine (57kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (64kg), Monika (48kg), Saweety (81kg) and Varinder Singh (60kg) -- secured bronze medals after semifinal losses.

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