Boxer Amit Panghal defeats reigning Olympic champion to win 49kg gold


Amit Panghal scripted a monumental upset to win the gold medal after beating reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in the 49kg final at the Asian Games in Jakarta on Saturday. Panghal won the final by a split 3-2 decision.

This was India's first gold in boxing at these Asian Games and also their first-ever in this category across all Asian Games. India has only won nine golds in boxing since the sport was first introduced at the Asian Games in 1954.

This was also only India's second medal at the Games in the men's light-flyweight category. Their previous medal in this category had come through Birju Sah, who won bronze in 1994.

Dusmatov was more defensive of the two boxers and managed to keep Panghal at bay in the first two rounds but the Indian was relentlessly aggressive and landed more clean punches on the more experienced Uzbek.

Dusmatov started being more aggressive in the third round but it was too little, too late as Panghal showed sturdy defence despite keeping an open guard for much of the bout.

Panghal, competing in his maiden Games, had previously met Dustamov in the AIBA World Championships quarterfinals last year in Hamburg, where he had lost 5-0.

Dusmatov was the runner-up at the World Championships and won the Asian Championships in 2015 and 2017. The 25-year-old Uzbek had lost in the quarterfinals in the last edition of the Asian Games in Incheon in 2014.

With this win, India secured only its second boxing medal at the Games, after Vikas Krishan's bronze post his withdrawal from the 75kg category - a moderate outing from the country that had won five medals, including one gold, in the 2014 edition.

Entering the senior boxing circuit in 2016, 22-year-old Panghal won silver at the Commonwealth Games held earlier this year, along with a bronze at the Asian Championships in 2017. Incidentally, the semi-finals loss in the latter had come against Dusmatov.

India win bridge men's pair gold

India's Pranab Bardhan and Shibhnath Sarkar won India's first-ever gold medal in bridge as they scored a combined total of 384 points to finish on top of the table in the Men's pair event. China's Yang Lixin and Chen Gang finished second with 378 points while Lasut Henky and Manoppo Freddy Eddy finished third with 374 points.

This is the first time that bridge has been included as a sport at the Asian Games. India had an impressive campaign in bridge as they won one gold and two bronze medals in the sport.

They had earlier won bronzes in the men's team and mixed team event.

Silver lining for squash women

The Indian squash team of Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal, Sunayna Kuruvilla and Tanvi Khanna settled for a silver medal in the women's team event at the Asian Games after losing in the final.

Facing Hong Kong's Annie Au, Joey Chan, Ho Tze Lok and Lee Ka Yi in the gold medal match, the team went down 2-0 to finish second. They had earlier defeated defending champions Malaysia 2-0 in the semi-finals, in what was a rematch of the 2014 finals, where India had eventually finished with a silver.

Kuruvilla, who was facing World No. 51 Ho in the first of three matches, lost 8-11, 6-11, 12-10, 3-11 as Hong Kong took a 1-0 lead. Chinappa, who had defeated World No. 9 Nicol David in the team semi-finals, then went into a must-win match against World No. 11 Annie Au. However, she couldn't repeat her semis display as she lost 3-11, 9-11, 6-11.

India, in this edition, has had a very successful campaign in the sport, winning four bronze medals - Saurav Ghoshal, Chinappa and Pallikal secured a podium-finish in the individual events, while the men's team of Saurav Ghoshal, Harinder Pal Sandhu, Ramit Tandon and Mahesh Mangaonkar finished third in the team event.

Indian women have consistently won medals in the team events since its inclusion in the Games in 2010. They had won bronze in the first edition before winning silver in the second.