Qualification done, Vikas Krishan now aims Olympic gold

Despite shuffling between amateur and professional boxing, Vikas Krishan handled the challenges well to ensure an Olympic quota place in 69kg weight class.

Vikas Krishan had switched to professional boxing in 2018 but returned to the amateur fold late last year.   -  PTI Photo

Despite shuffling between amateur and professional boxing, seasoned boxer Vikas Krishan has handled the challenges well to ensure an Olympic quota place in 69kg weight class.

Vikas – a former World youth champion, a Youth Olympics medal winner, a World championships bronze medallist and an Asian Games gold medallist – had switched to professional boxing in 2018 but returned to the amateur fold late last year to chase his ultimate dream of winning an Olympic medal.

After securing a quota place, in the Asia/Oceania Olympic qualifier in Amman, Jordan, for what would be his third Olympic appearance, Vikas was relieved. “I am quite satisfied after achieving my first target of qualifying for the Olympics on first attempt. I had trained very hard for this,” Vikas told Sportstar on Monday.

“It was difficult to switch from amateur to professional and vice versa. I trained overtime to make it look easy. I want to give the country an Olympic gold.”

The 28-year-old, who weighs around 70kg, followed his friend and professional boxer Neeraj Goyat's advice to jump back from 75kg to 69kg. He acknowledged the support of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and its coaches, who took care of his switch back to amateur boxing.

Vikas said his maturity worked to his advantage in Amman. “I have become more mature now and it helped me in the ring. I was never under immense pressure, which is generally seen in amateur boxers. I have boxed at Madison Square Garden and other places in New York. So that helped me deal with pressure. Boxing is a mind game, so slight nervousness is better."

One of the finest boxers India has ever produced, Vikas has enjoyed his journey for over a decade. “I boxed with two generations – Vijender Singh, Jitender Kumar, Akhil Kumar, Dinesh Kumar and Jai Bhagwan in the past and Amit Panghal, Satish Kumar and Manish Kaushik now. The previous generation was tough and the present one is tough too. I love the boxing sense of both generations and love the way Indian boxing has been growing,” he said.