Indian boxers are currently riding a wave of success, especially after their rich medal haul in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Such accomplishments can lead to heightened expectations in the future, especially in the build-up to the Asian Games in Jakarta.
Young boxer Amit Panghal, who won silver in the light flyweight category, says that the Indian boxing team isn't getting burdened under the weight of expectations ahead of the Indonesia event, and that they are full of confidence in the build-up to the marquee tournament.
"No there isn’t any such pressure on us. On the contrary, the boxers have trained a lot more for this. We are entering the Asian Games high on confidence, and that should translate to medals for us," said Panghal on the sidelines of a send-off event organised by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Panghal lost to England's Galal Yafai in the gold medal match at the Gold Coast Games earlier in April, setting for silver in the process. The boxer from Haryana, though, has no regrets about finishing second-best in the event, and is planning to make up for that loss in Indonesia.
"It was a great feeling. I was very happy, as were my family and relatives. Entered the competition with gold in mind, and gave my hundred percent in the final, but am happy with the silver. Will try and make up for it (missing out on gold) in the upcoming Asian Games," said Panghal, who will be making his debut at the Asian Games this month.
The Indian boxing team had a training session in the United Kingdom ahead of the event that is to be hosted at Jakarta and Palembang, and Panghal said that the experience will come in handy for them when they are up against some of the world's very best pugilists in the forthcoming event.
"Preparation’s going very well. We’re back from our training in the UK. We’re following whatever coach Santiago’s (Nieva) advising us, as well as the Indian coaches.
"We had a very good training stint in the UK. We’ve learnt a lot training with them (British boxers), which will come in handy for us at the Asian Games," said Panghal, who added that the Indian pugilists have trained a lot harder this time around than what they had put in in past tournaments.
The standard of boxing at the Asian Games is considered to be higher than that of the Commonwealth Games, given that countries such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, which produce Olympic medallists on a regular basis, are in the fray. Panghal, who had lost to Uzbek boxer Hasanboy Dustamov in the quarter-finals of the 2017 AIBA World Championships, says that he's prepared to face them this time around.
"Boxers from Uzbekistan are Olympic champions. My bouts against the Uzbeks will be quite tough, as was the case in the past as well when I had suffered losses against them. This time I’m fully prepared to face them, and will give my best to defeat them," added Panghal, who had clinched gold at the India Open and the Strandja Cup earlier this year.
While the Asian Games will take place between 18 August and 2 September, the boxing events are slated to take place at the Jakarta International Expo Hall starting 24 August, with the final round of bouts taking place on the penultimate day of the event.
Updated Date: Aug 17, 2018 13:50 PM