Tokyo: Indian boxer Amit Panghal (52kg) bowed out of the Olympics with a stunning 1-4 loss to Rio Games silver-medallist Yuberjen Martinez, beaten by the Colombian’s relentless attacks and pace in the pre-quarterfinals here on Saturday.
The top-seeded Indian, who was making his debut in the Games, had got an opening-round bye.
Panghal was put under pressure by the sprightly Colombian in the opening round itself but the Indian ensured that he connected better to claim the first three minutes 4-1.
But Martinez’s pace should have set alarm bells ringing in the Indian corner.
The Pan-American champion upped the ante in the second round, working relentlessly on Panghal’s body with his uppercuts.
Panghal got little respite from the onslaught and found it tough to respond. Martinez’s persistence brought him level with the top star.
He made sure that there was no let up in the intensity in the final three minutes and Panghal ended up being on the defensive.
Despite this loss, the 25-year-old Panghal remains one of best-performing Indian boxers in recent times, having secured a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games, followed by an unparalleled silver medal at the world championships in 2019.
The diminutive Army man is also a three-time Asian medallist, securing a medal every time he has been at the continental showpiece.
Martinez won the light flyweight silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics and will turn professional after the Tokyo Games.
His parents, who follow the pacifism-supporting Anglican church, were against him taking up the sport but eventually came around to support his ambitions.
On Friday, Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) became the first Indian boxer to secure a medal at the ongoing Games after advancing to the semifinals. She defeated former world champion Nien-Chin Chen of Chinese Taipei in her quarterfinal bout.
India’s archery campaign at the Olympics ended without a medal after Atanu Das lost to home favourite Takaharu Furukawa 6-4 in an intense five-setter in the men’s individual pre-quarterfinals here on Saturday.
Das failed to find a 10 in the fifth set and slipped to the red-circle for an 8 that proved costly as Furukawa sealed the issue by one point margin in the decider.
Das was the lone archer in the fray after his world number one wife Deepika Kumari succumbed to a 0-6 rout by eventual gold medallist An San of Korea on Friday.
Two days after knocking out London Olympics gold medalist Oh Jin Hyek in the last-32 match, Das could not overcome the Japanese, a silver medallist in 2012 Olympics, and a team bronze medallist here.
Das bounced back from a 1-3 deficit to level 3-3 as the duo went neck-and-neck in the fourth set before the local favourite sealed the issue in the fifth set by just one point (28-27).
Das shot twice in the red-circle (8-8) in his last two arrows of the opening set to lose by two points (25-27).
Starting off with a 10, Das gained control but the Japanese too matched him, shooting an identical 28-28 to split the second set with the Indian trailing 1-3.
Das showed fine composure, drilling two 10s en route to taking the fourth set 28-27 but there was more drama in store as both tied the fourth set.
Also read: India’s Lovlina Borgohain beats former world champion, enters boxing semifinals at Olympics