Amit Panghal

India IND

Boxing

  • Year of Birth
    1995

Biography

Amit Panghal

Standing at just 5'2" tall, Indian boxer Amit Panghal has almost always found himself facing opponents far bigger than him in the ring.

But the disadvantage never stopped Amit Panghal from reaching for the sky, and, almost always, hitting his mark.

As the first and only Indian male boxer to win a world boxing championships silver medal and the current world No. 1 in International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) 52kg category, the diminutive pugilist stands as a giant of Indian boxing today.

Amit Panghal’s journey into boxing began at Rohtak, Haryana. Born in a farming household, Amit was inspired to take up the sport by his elder brother Ajay Panghal – who was an amateur boxer himself.

Though Ajay never stepped up on the big stage, his contribution to moulding his little brother’s career has been immense, with his salary from working as a havildar in the Indian army providing Amit Panghal’s career the support system it needed to flourish.

Amit Panghal always made up for his physical disadvantage by his lightning speed and steely determination to land his punches – a trend which went on to define his boxing style.

“This has been the case ever since I was a kid. Sometimes the guys would be so tall that I would be staring at the sky. My opponents have largely been taller than me. But I took it as a blessing, because that forced me to find a way,” Amit Panghal told Olympic Channel.

Find a way he did and such was his progress, that soon enough, he was competing against boys from higher weight categories and dominating them. While boxing for Amit Panghal started as a fitness regimen, it soon became a career option.

Guided by coach Anil Dhankar of the Chhoturam Boxing Academy – where he had followed his brother as a kid – Amit Panghal rose through the junior ranks rapidly.

In 2017, a 21-year-old Amit Panghal announced himself on the senior stage, winning the gold medal on his very first nationals.

International success soon followed with a light flyweight bronze medal win at the 2017 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Months later, he put together an impressive run at the 2017 world boxing championships before being ousted in the quarter-final by Rio 2016 Olympics light flyweight gold medallist Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan.

Amit Panghal holds the bout against the Olympic champion as a defining moment which enriched him as a boxer. On the back of the experience, he continued making strides.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Amit Panghal beat former Olympian Sulemanu Tetteh of Ghana, Scottish pugilist Aqeel Ahmed and Uganda’s Juma Miiro to reach the final.

Competing in the summit clash, though, he lost 3-1 to England’s Galai Yafai to bag silver.

Later, at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Amit Panghal bagged a gold medal. He won his first three bouts against Mongolia’s Kharkhüügiin Enkhmandakh, North Korea’s Kim Jang-ryong and Philippines’ Carlo Paalam to reach the final.

In the final, he found himself squaring off against old nemesis Hasanboy Dusmatov. This time, though, it was Amit Panghal’s turn to shine as he won a close contest 3-2 to win the gold.

Later that year, Amit Panghal opted to move up a weight class to compete in the flyweight (52kg) division. While a shift in classes is regarded as a tough transition, Panghal was already used to competing against bigger opponents from his childhood.

Amit Panghal’s first big win in his new weight class came at the 2019 Asian championships.

The Indian boxer beat Hasanboy Dusmatov - who had made the same weight class transition as him - yet again in the quarter-finals before dominating China’s Hu Jianguan – a bronze medallist at Rio 2016 – in the semis.

Set to fight his final bout against South Korean boxer Kim In-kyu, Panghal brushed aside his opponent by a 5-0 margin to win the gold medal.

Later that year in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Amit Panghal would go on to win a world championships silver medal. Despite losing to Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the final, the Indian had already scripted history.

He became the first Indian men’s boxer to reach the final of the world championships. The other medal-winners at the world event are Vijender Singh (2009), Vikas Krishan (2011), Shiva Thapa (2015), Gaurav Bidhuri (2017) and Manish Kaushik (2019). But everyone else had settled for bronze.

The feat also propelled him to the world No. 1 ranking in his weight class in the AIBA rankings.

In March 2020, Amit Panghal earned his berth for the Tokyo Olympics after defeating Carlo Paalam 4-1 in the quarter-finals of the Asia-Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers.

He also won the gold medal at the Cologne World Cup in Germany in December after getting a walkover from his final opponent Argishti Terteryan.

In line for his maiden Summer Games, Panghal will be eyeing to realise his life-long dream of standing on the Olympic podium. The Indian pugilist also seems to be in good form, having clinched the 2021 Asian championships silver medal.

Only in his mid-20s, Panghal has time on his side and holds the promise of breaking into the same bracket as Olympic medallists like MC Mary Kom and Vijender Singh one day.