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Top-seeded Indian boxer Amit Panghal has bowed out of Tokyo 2020 Olympics after losing his Round of 16 bout through a split 4-1 decision to Colombia’s Yuberjen Martinez.

The Indian pugilist made a fantastic start, winning the first round 4-1, but lost the momentum as well as the energy as Martinez upped the ante. 

Panghal, in fact, was extremely tactical in the first period. While he was defensive, he managed to work on counters and did connect some good punches. The second round, however, was all about the Colombian. With Panghal going more defensive, Martinez, a silver medalist at Rio Olympics, threw in some decisive punches.

The Indian boxer looked extremely nervous in the decisive round as he hardly made any connection. He danced his way all over the ring avoiding Martinez, but that just wasn’t good enough. He was further pushed on the back foot as Martinez took the charge, not allowing the Indian any chance of an attack.

Towards the end of the final round, Panghal was at the receiving end of some quick right-left combination punches but decided not to do anything against that. That worked as a booster for the Colombian whose confidence grew. The Indian did connect a left hook, but that just wasn’t good enough. He lost with a scoreline of 29-28, 27-29, 27-30, 28-29 and 28-29.

With Panghal out, India now pins its hopes on Pooja Rani, who is set to take on China’s Qian Li in Women's middleweight quarter-final. A win in this round would take Pooja to the semi-final and assure her at least a bronze medal.

On Friday, July 30, welterweight (64-69kg) boxer Lovlina Borgohain booked her place in the semi-final of her weight category, becoming the first Indian boxer to assure India an Olympic medal at Tokyo 2020.

Featured photo: Instagram / Amit Panghal

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