Why Olympic boxing champion Vasyl Lomachenko inspires Amit Panghal

The Ukrainian boxer has won the Olympic gold medal at the 2008 and 2012 Games.

By Subhayan Dutta

We all need heroes: even though ace Indian boxer Amit Panghal - the reigning world No.1 in the 52kg category - is an inspiration to many, Panghal has revealed his own role model.

Ukrainian legend Vasyl Lomachenko is the ring master whom Panghal is looking to emulate.

A two-time Olympic gold medallist - Beijing 2008 and London 2012 - in the featherweight and lightweight categories, the 32-year-old Lomachenko currently holds the WBA and WBO titles.

Amit Panghal came across the three-weight world champion Lomachenko’s boxing videos a few years back and was attracted by the left-hander’s style.

“I think I saw him first on a phone in 2017-18,” Amit Panghal told the Olympic Channel.

“I got to know that he is a two-time Olympic champion, so I started watching him closely,” Amit Panghal added.

Vasyl Lomachenko is known for his aggression and lightning fast reflexes. The Ukraine star is dangerous with his combination punches and can breach the best of defences.

Traits of Lomachenko’s boxing style can be seen in Amit Panghal’s punching array that was on display at the 2019 India Open final.

Amit Panghal, standing at 5'2 inches, was up against Sachin Siwach, who was seven inches taller. Siwach had no answer to Panghal’s quick and precision punching and conceded the gold.

“Not everything, I try to copy his style and especially his combination (of punches), Amit Panghal admitted.

“I also love the way he trains. However, I am yet to meet him,” Amit Phangal, a World Championships silver medallist, added.

India’s Amit Panghal is ranked the No. 1 boxer in the 52kg category.

After edging past Philippines’ Carlo Paalam in the quarter-final of the Asian Boxing qualifiers in Amman to book his maiden Olympic berth, Amit Panghal was upstaged by China’s Hu Jianguan in the semi-final.

However, with the Tokyo Olympics now postponed by a year, the flyweight category star has been using the time to sharpen his game.

“I had less power since I moved from 49kg to 52kg and I have been working on it since the lockdown,” Amit Panghal said.

“It [Olympics postponement] gives us time to focus on our weaknesses. We will go with a better fitness level and an overall level next year,” he added.

With the Games still a year away, Amit Panghal can hope to see his idol in action as soon as October. 

Vasyl Lomachenko is slated to take on Teofimo Lopez Jr. in a highly anticipated fight, where three of the four lightweight world titles will be at stake.