Saying that Vikas Krishan has a competitive spirit would be an understatement. A boxer cannot live without enemies, but to his horror, the blockade left him with no one.
To turn the situation around, Krishan found opponents, albeit on a different field, at home not to be distracted. I love to play chess, so I taught my parents during the lockdown; I thought, why not make some of my opponents home, said a 28-year-old boy. Tomorrow, when the lockdown is extended, I’ll have no more opponents. What am I supposed to do? It will be useful.
After receiving his third Olympic podium, the 2018 Commonwealth Games champion was already in quarantine two weeks after returning from a qualifying event in Jordan, when the Government announced a three-week blockade due to the coronavirus pandemic. Accustomed to his routine, he left the 2010 Asian Games champions in a frenzy. Training in the morning, resting, training again in the evening, sleeping, is an athlete’s routine. I have been on this diet for 17-18 years and when it suddenly stops you get a strange feeling inside, said Krishan, who won silver at the Asian and Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament in Amman in early March.
I am very upset because I am used to the schedule of training, rest and meals at a certain time. There’s no system at home, so the schematics are mixed up. We don’t have a choice. We can’t go back.
Just because he’s not going out doesn’t mean he hasn’t practiced. Krishan trained regularly for more than six months before the pandemic brought all the sports in the world to a standstill. To keep pace, he trains at home in Bhiwani, an Indian boxing center in Haryana, and has family members to help him. I’ve got jump rope, play mats and dumbbells. My dad’s helping me. At this point, you need help. I taught him how to hold the pliers, he helps me practice. Something better than nothing, right? This is Southpaw. I also swim with the children in the pool of the farm.
After winning the bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Games, Krishan has recently entered the brilliant and silver-filled world of professional boxing. But after winning his first two battles in the professional world, including that at Holy Madison Square Garden in New York a year ago, the temptation to win an Olympic success brought him back into the amateur stream. And he thinks this turnaround will do him a lot of good.
Professional boxing is very different – the training, the harder opponents made me tough. I always thought that if I bled (during childbirth): Okay, no problem. Now I want to hit and crush my opponent even harder, said Krishan, who believes that next year’s Olympics will give him another year to train even better. As with the section games, I got a cut in the first minute of the first round. Three more full laps and I beat the double world champion.
After qualifying in Tokyo, Krishan plans to return to professional boxing for the matches in Tokyo. I want 3-4 pro battles before I go to the Olympics. It gives you a lot of confidence.
Some experts believe that this can be a disadvantage in the amateur code, where the score is more important than the weight of the punch.
The Olympic medal will make up for the controversial withdrawal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Originally he had been declared winner 13-11 in the preliminary round with 69 kg against the American Errol Spence, but the result was cancelled and the American boxer announced the winner 15-13 after the appeal. The protest from the Indian camp was rejected. Krishan then accused him of combat readiness, which initially turned out to be a close affair.
Krishan believes that a weight change from 75 to 69 kg gives him an important advantage over his opponents. With 75 kg I had asli (real) strength, so with 69 kg my strength is on a different level. I don’t believe anyone in the world has as much power as I do, Krishan said confidently. Coaches who have seen my World Cup battles also feel that when I beat my opponents, even if they are careful, they feel like I am beating them. I also have a size advantage and a height advantage of 69 kg. At 75 kg most of them are the same size as me, but at 69 kg there is no one else but me.
More than a month outside the ring, Krishan spends this holiday time with 15 members of his family and trains his two sons and daughter at the ages of six, five and three. The last time he took such a long break was in 2013, when he got married. The first week my wife was very happy to have me home, but not after that, he laughs. I made her change her routine. She used to cook whenever she wanted, but now she had to prepare a healthy meal for me according to my daily routine.
His parents are constantly honing their chess skills. Krishan asked if he’d been beaten up: Not yet. Not yet. Now they’re playing with each other. You have no experience beating me.