Sydney: In a historic moment for Indian Boxing, WBC-India champion Sabari J shocked Australian Michael Pengue with a knockout in the 8th round at Sydney on Saturday Night. As a result, Sabari was crowned the new WBC Australasia Champion in the Welterweight division.
A “10 round” contest with the local favourite, in hostile conditions was always going to be a tough task for Sabari J.
Michael Pengue, also known as the “Punisher”, was the favourite to win the fight. He came into this event with 2 consecutive wins in his last 2 outings. Pengue had won the vacant WBC Australasia title in December 2021 by a 10 round points decision over fellow compatriot Jorge Kapeen.
The Boxing Underdog
The Tamilnadu boxer, Sabari J, has always responded very well to being the underdog in a fight. He had won the WBC India title in December 2021 via a 8 round Split Decision victory over Akashdeep Singh at Hyderabad. Sabari, was the underdog in that fight too.
Last night he oozed confidence right from the first bell. Sabari out-punched Pengue in every round. By the eighth round, the Australian was exhausted. With a minute to go in the 8th round, a hard right from Sabari sent Pengue to the canvas. A knockdown count followed from the Referee to wait for Pengue to get back onto his feet, failing which he waved his hands to call an end to the fight.
At the time of stoppage, Sabari, was ahead on the scorecards of 2 out of the 3 judges assigned by the World Boxing Council and Australian Boxing commission.
“Sabari was a little low on confidence ahead of the bout.
It was obvious, he saw almost everybody in the stadium cheering for the local boxer.
But I told him that he was equally good and just one good round will earn him half the spectators in the stadium.
He followed the plan and went all out in the first round to shock Pengue and the crowd with his energy.
Once the first hurdle was crossed, Sabari gained a lot of confidence which helped him win the title,” Sabari’s coach and Manager, Kamal Mujtaba said.