Tokyo Olympics: Decorated boxer Vikas Krishan Yadav seeks missing Olympic medal | Tokyo Olympics News


NEW DELHI: “I am not just targeting an Olympic medal. Meri nazar Olympic gold par hai (I am targeting Olympic gold),” boxer Vikas Krishan Yadav told TOI during an interaction just before leaving for Assisi, Italy for a pre-Olympics training camp.
Vikas is not being brash or cocky. The 29-year-old is a prime medal contender for India, and the Tokyo Games will be his third consecutive Olympics. He will be competing in the 69kg category.
In London as well as Rio, however, Vikas fell short and couldn’t return with a medal. In 2012, a 20-year-old Vikas had won his preliminary bout against USA’s Errol Spence, only to see the result being overturned in a few hours. Four years later in Rio, he fell one step away from winning a medal, losing in the quarterfinal.

This time he has unfinished business to attend to. “This is my last Olympics. I have nothing to lose. I will punch them hard this time, my opponents will feel it. I came close (in 2012 and 2016), but what to do? Maybe God wanted me to wait a bit longer,” said Vikas.
“There is a blank in my career and I want to fill it with an Olympic medal. That’s the only thing missing,” he adds. “I am going to show the world how boxing is an art.”
Krishan is a three-time Asian Games medallist, having won gold in 2010 and bronze in 2014 and 2018. The 29-year-old has also bagged three Asian Championship medals, including one silver (2015) and two bronze medals (2017 and 2021). There is a World Championships bronze (2011) too in his trophy cabinet. He also won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
In November 2018, Vikas had turned pro, only to return to the amateur fold a year later with the goal to win a medal in Tokyo. In fact, he fought two pro boxing bouts in the United States and managed to remain undefeated in them. The second bout was at the iconic Madison Square Garden.
Since the time he has come back to India, Vikas has hardly spent time with his wife and kids, who are in Hisar, Haryana. All his energies have been channelised towards his training. “These (not spending time at home) are small sacrifices one has to make,” says Vikas. “There is a larger picture and that is to win an Olympic medal.”
The world of pro boxing is cut throat. One has to fight 12 rounds and the punches are hard. Vikas believes his experience in the pro circuit will hold him in good stead at the Olympics. “I have fought with really tough boxers (in the professional circuit). I have won against them. I have battled for 10 rounds, 12 rounds and that has increased my will to win.
“My stamina and endurance level has increased by leaps and bounds. Fitness wise, I am in the best condition of my life. My punches are more effective, quicker and carry more weight and power. Fights in pro boxing are much harder and also very risky. By risky, I mean there is risk to life. The gloves that boxers use in professional boxing are very small and the padding is minimal. It’s essentially like a bare-handed street fight that has rules. There are times when you are at the receiving end of a hard punch, you get totally dazed.”
Vikas claims that everyone will get to see an updated version of him in Tokyo. It will be Vikas 2.0. What is going to be the difference then?
“My training during my days in pro boxing was so tough that it has made me a lot stronger. In professional boxing, you have to hurt your opponent, only then he is going to stop. I can assure you that in the 69kg category there are very few to match my power. If I hit a powerful punch, it’ll be hugely detrimental for my opponent. My speed and movement inside the ring has also increased considerably.
“I have also strengthened my defence. Earlier, I just used to block my opponent’s punches. Now I can flip and bring in other defensive maneuvers. The onlooker is enjoying watching my bout. Mai bachaunga aur phir maarunga (I will first defend and then I’ll go for the kill).”
Giving an interesting anecdote about his “now increased power”, Vikas said, “During the Olympic qualifiers in Amman (Jordan), I used to pad with the coaches before going for any bout or during my practice sparring sessions. Santiago (Nieva), our director, used to ice his hands in the night. He told me ‘I can handle the punches of others, but yours is very powerful’. Kuttappa coach (men’s head coach), who regularly spars with me, said to me ‘your punches are going to hurt people and they won’t be able to rise up again’.”




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