World no.1 in the flyweight category, Amit Panghal, had booked his spot for the Tokyo 2020 games with a win over Carlo Paalam of the Philippines at the Asian Qualifiers back in 2020.
Panghal, who also won silver at the World Championship, is now gearing up for his first Olympic appearance. Hopes are high from 25-year-old, but if Panghal has to clinch gold at the Tokyo Olympic games these are the men he would have to sweat hard against.
#3. Amit Panghal has never beaten Shakhobidin Zoirov
Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov is the reigning Olympic and World Champion. In May, Panghal suffered a disappointing loss against Zoirov in the final of the Asian Elite Boxing Championships and had to settle for silver.
Panghal has had a history of coming up short against Zoirov. In 2019, Panghal lost to Zoirov in the World Championships final. More recently, Zoirov defeated Panghal in the Governor's Cup semi-finals.
Clearly, the two boxers have had a rivalry brewing for some years now and it would take big efforts from the Indian to defeat Zoirov on his way to Olympic glory.
Watch: Shakhobidin Zoirov (UZB) vs. Amit Panghal (IND) Asian Championships 2021 Final (52kg)
#2. Yosbany Veitia has been very consistent in the ring since 2017
The Cuban southpaw won gold at the 2017 World Championships and silver medal at the 2015 edition. In 2013 Yosbany Veitia won the bronze medal. Veitia has been a prodigy and he proved his mettle as a promising young boxer when he won bronze at the 2010 youth world championships.
Such has been Veitia’s consistency in the ring that his last defeat was against UK’s Galal Yafai back in 2017. Since then, the Cuban has won seven bouts in a row.
Despite his stellar showing, Veitia has not enjoyed much success at the Olympics. At the London games he was just edged out by eventual champion Zou Shiming of China in Round 16. In Rio, he lost in the quarter-finals after another close defeat. Veitia will be eyeing a chance to improve his record at the Olympics, so Panghal will have to be wary of him.
Also read: Army man Amit Panghal wants to win an Olympic gold medal for the nation and is training hard for it
#1. Hu Jianguan beat Panghal the last time they met
Amit Panghal’s most recent loss against China’s Hu Jianguan was in the Asian Olympic qualifiers where the Indians were knocked out in the semis. Hu Jianguan's top achievements include a bronze at the 2016 Rio Games, 2015 World Championships and the 2019 Asian Championships.
Coming into the Tokyo 2020 games, Hu Jianguan is on a five-match winning spree and is a strong favorite to clinch a medal at the games. Panghal could derive inspiration from the fact that he was able to defeat Jianguan in the 2019 Asian championships semifinal bout. But the 28-year-old Chinese remains a tough opponent to beat.
Also read: How brother’s sacrifice showed boxer Amit Panghal the future