Till a few years ago there was no money to buy shoes, now Amit Panghal will wave the country’s flag in Paris

Amit Panghal, one of the top boxers of the country, is ready to raise the flag of India in the Olympic Games to be held in Paris, the capital of France this month. Even though Amit Panghal is only five feet two inches tall, when he attacks, it is very difficult for the opponent to escape. Those punches of Panghal are no less than a sting. Amit’s short height has never been a disadvantage for him, he has touched the heights of the sky and has always been successful. Amit is the first and only Indian male boxer to win a silver medal in the World Boxing Championship, and is the former world number 1 in the 52 kg category of the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

Amit Panghal was born on 16 October 1995 in Maina village, Rohtak, Haryana. Coming from a Jat family, Amit’s father Vijender Singh Panghal is a farmer in Maina. It was his elder brother, Ajay Panghal, who inspired Amit to take up boxing at the Sir Chhotu Ram Boxing Academy in 2007. Ajay himself was an amateur boxer who served in the Indian Army. Amit Panghal comes from humble beginnings, growing up in a farming family. However, he got inspiration from his elder brother, Ajay, who was an amateur boxer and served in the Indian Army. Amit’s father Vijender Singh Panghal is also a farmer in Maina.

Amit Panghal started boxing in the year 2008. Amit’s uncle used to train children in boxing in the village. His brother Ajay also used to go here for training. Initially, Amit did not go here to learn boxing but he used to come here only for physical fitness. But uncle saw that Amit was fond of boxing, so he started training him too. Amit started training in Patiala from the year 2015. But despite this, on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, he used to go to his village to learn boxing tricks from uncle. Amit Panghal started his international career in the year 2017 and since then he has been continuously winning medals for the country.

In 2017, when he went to Hamburg, Germany for the first time to participate in the World Championship, he liked a particular pair of shoes at a shop there. These shoes were specially worn for boxing. Although Panghal could not afford to pay their price, he liked the shoes so much that he could not stop himself. In such a situation, he decided to borrow them. Amit Panghal started his professional career in March 2018 as a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in the Indian Army, serving in the 22nd Battalion of the Mahar Regiment. In his first appearance at the National Boxing Championships in 2017, Panghal won the gold medal. In the same year, he won the bronze medal in the light flyweight category of the Asian Amateur Boxing Championships in Tashkent. Although he qualified for the 2017 AIBA World Boxing Championships, he lost to Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals.

In February 2018, Panghal won the gold medal at the Strandzha Cup in Sofia, Bulgaria. He also won the silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the light flyweight category. In April 2019, he won the gold medal at the Asian Boxing Championship 2019 in Bangkok defeating Korean boxer Kim In-Kyu, who was the bronze medalist at the World Boxing Championships 2017. On September 11, 2018, he was nominated for the Arjuna Award for his outstanding performance at the Asian Games as recommended by the Boxing Federation of India. In February 2019, Amit Panghal successfully defended his cup by winning consecutive gold medals (2018, 2019) at the Strandzha Cup in Sofia. On September 21, 2019, Amit Panghal created history by becoming the first Indian boxer to win a silver medal at the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships after losing 0–5 to Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the final of the 52kg category to settle for the silver medal.

On March 10, 2020, Panghal qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by defeating Carlo Paalam of the Philippines in the quarterfinals of the 52 kg category. In December of the same year, Panghal won the gold medal at the Boxing World Cup 2020 held in Cologne, Germany, his opponent Argishti Terteryan from Germany received a walkover. On April 25, 2021, Panghal won the bronze medal at the Governor’s Cup 2021 in Saint Petersburg, Russia in the 52 kg category. On May 31, 2021, he won the silver medal at the 2021 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships held in Dubai, UAE, losing the final bout by a 3–2 split decision against Olympic and world champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan.

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