Challenge awaits Panghal, Krishan in Asian boxing

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Dubai, May 25 (IANS) India’s Olympic-bound boxers Amit Panghal, Vikas Krishan and Ashish Kumar have a tough challenge ahead when they play their quarter-finals in ASBC Asian Championships here on Wednesday.

World Championships silver-medallist and defending champion Panghal will face stiff competition from Mongolia’s Kharkhuu Enkhmandakh in 52kg category. When the duo last met, at Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Amman last year, the Indian had to dig deep into his energy reserves to win the bout.

Krishan, the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games champion, will square off against Iran’s Moslem Malamir in 69kg, while Ashish Kumar (75kg), who clinched silver in the last edition of the event, and Narender (+91kg) will also be up against powerful opponents from Kazakhstan.

While Ashish will play World Championships and Asian Games silver-medallist Abilkhan Amankul, Narender is set to fight two-time World Championships silver-medallist Kamshybek Kunkabayev, who is also aiming for his third successive medal at the Asian championships.

Current national champion, Punjab boxer Varinder Singh (60kg), is the other Indian boxer who will be looking to confirm a medal as he will take on Jere Cruz of Philippines in lightweight last-eight bout.

In the 81kg opening-round bout played late on Monday night, Sumit Sangwan suffered a 0-5 defeat against Iranian boxer Meysam Gheshlaghi.