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Boxer Amit Panghal to enter Tokyo Olympics as World No. 1 | Tokyo Olympics News – Times of India

June 27, 2021
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NEW DELHI: In a big morale boost ahead of the Tokyo Games, India’s Amit Panghal was on Saturday ranked as World No. 1 boxer in his men’s flyweight (52kg) category by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Boxing Task Force (BTF).
The reigning Asian Games champion and World Championships silver-medallist is the only Indian boxer from the nine Tokyo-bound men and women pugilists to have received the top billing by the BTF. The news will definitely spur Panghal to Olympic glory as the No. 1 ranking has come just 27 days ahead of the start of the boxing competitions (July 24-August 8) at the Tokyo Games.
The 25-year-old Rohtak boy’s nearest rival and his nemesis of late, Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov, has been ranked fifth in the world. The other three boxers in top-five of the 52kg category include France’s Billal Bennama (World No. 2), Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi (No. 3) and China’s Hu Jianguan (No. 4). Among them, Panghal has defeated Bennama and Jianguan once each, while he has lost to Zoirov in all his three meetings so far, with the latest being the controversial 2-3 defeat in the final of the Asian boxing championships in Dubai. Against Flissi, Panghal has never competed before.
The No. 1 ranking will definitely help Panghal in securing a favorable draw at the Olympics, where he’s unlikely to face any strong challenge before the quarterfinal bout. The top-eight seeds in Tokyo wouldn’t meet before the quarters, leaving Panghal to concentrate on his two matches in the Round of 32 and 16. In the Round of 64, he’s likely to be accorded a bye based on his top billing.
The numero uno ranking is also a validation of Panghal’s match consistency, as this is the second time that he’s been ranked No. 1 in less than 15 months. Ahead of the Asian Olympics qualifier in Amman, Jordan in March 2020, the diminutive pugilist was ranked No. 1 by the BTF. Now, as per the rankings released for the Tokyo Olympics (as on June 18, 2021), the Indian has held on to his top spot. As a result, Panghal becomes only the second Indian boxer to reach the top spot since Vijender Singh was ranked No. 1 in the middleweight category in 2009 after securing the World Championships bronze.
Among the other Tokyo-bound Indian boxers, six-time world champion, M C Mary Kom, has been ranked seventh in her 51kg category, with her nearest rivals, China’s Chang Yuan (2nd) and Chinese Taipei’s Huang Hsiao-Wen (3rd), placed above her in the BTF rankings. Other three women boxers in the top-10 are Simranjit Kaur (60kg, 4th ranked), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg, 5th ranked) and Pooja Rani Bohra (75kg, 8th ranked).
In the men’s category, the four other Tokyo-bound boxers are ranked: Manish Kaushik (63kg, 18th), Vikas Krishan Yadav (69kg, 10th) and Ashish Kumar Chaudhary (75kg, 9th) and Satish Kumar (+91kg, 9th).
The IOC’s BTF has the mandate to organise and deliver the qualification events for boxing and the Olympic boxing competitions in Tokyo after the AIBA’s suspension due to concerns over finance, governance, ethics and refereeing and judging.





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