We can perform well in Tokyo, says former boxer Devarajan

With a year to go for the Olympics, Devarajan, an Arjuna award winner and a national selector, expected a good haul of medals from the boxing squad.

Former boxer V. Devarajan feels India's growing stature in the sport should help the current crop.   -  Sandeep Saxena

 

Former World Cup bronze medal winning boxer V. Devarajan feels that the current bunch of Indian boxers have the ability to record the country's best-ever performance in the Tokyo Olympics.

With a year to go for the Olympics, Devarajan, an Arjuna award winner and a national selector, expected a good haul of medals from the boxing squad.

"We have got some fine boxers -- such as Amit Panghal, Manish Kaushik, Vikas Krishan, Mary Kom and Simranjit Kaur -- who have proven themselves at the highest level by beating boxers from strong countries. We have some excellent coaches, led by Santiago Nieva. Our boxers have the capability to win more than one medal, a few of them should be in the finals in Tokyo," Devarajan told Sportstar.

"Before that, we can add a few more quota places to our existing nine slots when our boxers compete in the World qualifier in May next year."

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According to Devarajan, India's growing stature in the sport should help the boxers. "In our times, nobody knew about India. Now, India has a reputation as a boxing nation. Boxers from Australia have done a camp here. Boxers from Singapore and Mongolia are interested to train with the Indians. We should cash in on the favourable atmosphere."

On resumption of the national camp after the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Devarajan said, "We have to have a positive mindset. It will take some time (for a boxer) to get back his/her rhythm.

"The boxers should guard against being over-confident as you cannot take your opponent for granted in boxing. The bout can change in a moment, even the biggest stars like Mohammed Ali and Mike Tyson have been knocked down.

"Normally, a boxer goes into isolation after achieving success as people don't try to bother him. Here the coaching staff should step in and keep talking to the boxers to keep them on the right track."

Devarajan had another important advice for the Olympic-bound boxers. "At least six months prior to the Olympics, videos of these boxers should not be exposed to the outside world. A clever boxer can pick up finer points and use them against you," said Devarajan.

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