Olympic quota secured, boxer Vikas Krishan plans to return to professional boxing in August-September
'The Olympics, as you know, have been postponed, so I am planning to go back to professional boxing by August-end or early September. By then, I hope international flights will resume and logistics can be worked out,' Vikas said.
New Delhi: Six months after he returned to amateur boxing to resuscitate his medal hopes at now deferred Tokyo Olympics, boxer Vikas Krishan is planning to return to the professional fold in two months' time. The 28-year-old from Haryana's Bhiwani district qualified for his third Olympics in early March, and has expressed his desire to end his Olympic duck in what would be his third outing at the Games.
"The Olympics, as you know, have been postponed, so I am planning to go back to professional boxing by August-end or early September. By then, I hope international flights will resume and logistics can be worked out," Vikas told Firstpost.
"I am yet to reach out to people in the USA to set up a bout because I still need to prepare myself physically as well as training-wise."
Boxing was among the 11 disciplines that were allowed to resume training after the Ministry of Home Affairs' go-ahead to open sports complexes and stadiums last month. The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) had marked 10 June as the date to begin a combined national camp for men and women at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala. Traditionally, men's national camps are held in Patiala while women train at Delhi's Indira Gandhi (IG) Stadium. The decision was taken at a BFI video conference last month that was attended by federation officials, national coaches, and Olympic-bound boxers.
The proposed camp, however, has been indefinitely postponed owing to logistical issues. At present, none of the boxers are in Patiala, and arranging their travel is an onerous task.
"I completely understand the delay, but if they can arrange an exclusive camp for me, that'll be great for my pro-boxing ambitions.
"In any case, amateur competitions are not going to resume anytime soon, but if there are no camps, my preparations for pro-boxing will never take off. I need the right environment to train, which is something that cannot be replicated at home. It is very frustrating. Let's hope there is some good news on this front soon," he added.
The only Indian boxer to win a gold medal at the Asian Games as well as the Commonwealth Games (albeit in different years), Vikas is also mentoring kids in the 14-18 age group in Bhiwani. The BFI guidelines bar boxers from human sparring, besides advising them to use personalised punching bags and staying away from the ring completely, and Vikas is understandably finding it hard to practically implement them.
"I train kids in batches of five. The trainees are required to wash their hands and feet thoroughly at the entrance, and I ensure a distance of at least 10 feet between each of them. You can't wear a mask while boxing because that will hamper your breathing, but that is how it is," he said.
The global coronavirus outbreak has altered the sporting universe in unprecedented ways, with social distancing, quarantine, bio-secure environments, and empty stadiums being the order of the day. While European football leagues such as LaLiga and Bundesliga have resumed action, Premier League will restart on 17 June after a three-month hiatus. In cricket, the West Indies are currently in England for a three-Test series set to begin on 8 July.
"There is no way you can do that (social distancing) in boxing. You can stay away from the referee, but how can you be distant from your opponent? The absence of a crowd is also a factor. The jeers or cheers do impact boxers. Playing in an empty stadium will be a different experience for sure," he said.
In the absence of regular skill-based training, Vikas has relied on bodyweight exercises and light padwork to keep himself in shape, but that is nowhere close to the demands of professional boxing. Having trained with his close friend and pugilist Neeraj Goyat for the past two months, the two-time Olympian is now taking it easy to rest his muscles.
"Personally, I have gone slow on my training and workouts for about 7-10 days now. I have been training continuously with Neeraj since the lockdown started, so I need some rest now. However, I want the national camp to begin as soon as possible," he concluded.
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