World silver-medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) and Sanjeet (91kg) struck gold in their first competition after a coronavirus-forced break. They have claimed the top honours at the Alexis Vastine International Boxing Tournament in Nantes, France.
Amit, also an Asian Games champion besides being Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, defeated American Rene Abraham 3-0 with a dominating performance on Friday night.
Former India Open gold-medallist Sanjeet too put up a clinical show to get past Frenchman Soheb Bouafia and secured gold.
In the 75kg category, Asian silver-winner Ashish Kumar claimed gold after his opponent, American Joseph Gerome Hiks, gave him a walkover due to injury.
However, Asian silver-medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht (57kg) settled for a silver medal after going down to Samuel Kistohurry 2-1.
India had earlier secured three bronze medals through four-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa, Sumit Sangwan and Satish Kumar. All three of them lost in the semifinal stage.
First international contest during pandemic
This was the first international competition that Indian boxers featured in since the Olympic qualifiers in Jordan in March. In that event, nine Indians — five men and four women — qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. However, the Olympics were postponed to next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Indians’ competition calendar as well as training schedule has been severely hampered by the shutdown following the pandemic. This has caused a bar on sparring at the national camp in Patiala. The camp resumed in August amid strict health safety protocols and was open to only the Olympic-bound and hopefuls.
The Indians are currently on a 52-day training trip to Europe. They have been primarily based in Assisi, Italy. The boxers and their support staff left for the trip on October 15.
Yesterday, world championships silver-medallist Indian boxers Amit Panghal (52kg) is also through to the finals. He defeated American Christopher Herrera in a draw that only featured four boxers. This is the first international competition that Indian boxers are featuring in since the Olympic qualifiers in Jordan in March.