Feature

Much-improved Vikas Krishan dreams big, says Tokyo will see his fist of fury

Having tested the Olympic waters twice in his career, Indian boxer Vikas Krishan wants to ensure he doesn’t let anyone score a point against him at the Tokyo Games.

By Naveen Peter ·

For a man who’s spent close to two decades as an international boxer, Vikas Krishan Yadav speaks like he fights -- straight, crisp and with a sucker punch!

So, it doesn’t come as a surprise when the two-time Olympian says that he wants to dominate his way to an Olympic gold later this year. 

“I won’t let my opponent score -- even at the Olympics,” the 28-year-old Krishan tells the Olympic Channel.

“Be it in training, sparring or in tournaments, I have had the same mindset. My goal is to implement all of this so that no one can touch me at the Olympics. I won’t settle for wins, I want to dominate and win.”

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Vikas Krishan has made two appearances at the Olympic Games. At London 2012, he was eliminated in the preliminary round while at Rio 2016, he made it till the quarter-final. This time, he wants to go further.

Though Vikas Krishan booked his place at Tokyo 2020 with a commanding performance at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers, the 28-year-old Haryana lad isn’t content with the way he went about his business in Amman, Jordan. 

Vikas Krishnan has analysed his capabilities carefully. He says his powerful punches and quick feet movements are an asset but his defence and stamina need work. Krishnan has spent the past few months working on building them.

“Defence! That’s something that has held me back,” Krishan explains.  

“I feel, in my weight category, I am way more powerful than my opponents. All the coaches that I have worked with attest to this. I am powerful and I am quick and these things come naturally to me. I have always banked on these things in my career. 

“But now I want to work on my endurance. I want to ensure that I stay on top throughout the three rounds. Point dena hi nahi hai (I don’t want to give away any point). I have been training in such a way that even today -- when I am on a break -- if you ask me to get into a ring, I will dominate, whether it's the first round or the third.”

Vikas Krishan goes back to basics

The past months have also seen the experienced Vikas Krishan going back to the drawing board. 

“I now realise that whatever I have achieved is purely based on my talent and capabilities. Because when I look back at some of my bouts I am like, ‘what on earth am I doing?’ The technique is very wrong. 

“When I watch my bouts from Rio 2016 and London 2012 I go like, ‘How bad a boxer is this fellow?’ The primary reason is an imbalance. I throw a heavy punch and down I go, there’s no way I can stand straight. Then, there’s no variation in defence. I used to either step back or block to defend.”

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Now, he has added variety to his defence and is more stable even when he’s going for his trademark hooks. 

While Vikas Krishan admits that he was suggested the changes a few years back, he never gave much thought to it. Now, the Indian boxer is happy that he has come around.

“I think it was in 2017 when I first heard about altering my technique,” reveals Vikas Krishan. 

It was at JSW’s Inspire Institute of Sports (IIS) that the Indian first came across Ronald Simms Jr, an experienced boxing coach from the USA. Vikas Krishan didn’t pay much attention to the tweaks suggested by Simms Jr at first, but soon spotted the chinks in his technique. 

“I saw him (Simms Jr) training but I didn’t like his training. I was a bit arrogant then. I was like, ‘Mereko sab kuch pata hai’ (I know everything). I have been doing this for so long, I know everything,” says Krishan, who is also known as the ‘Indian Tank’.

“But after I got to know him better, I realised he was the real deal. For me, if I am a fifth-grader in boxing, he’s a 12th grader. It was at IIS that coach Ron asked me to stop twisting my leg (while throwing a hook). He asked me to watch any of the top boxers and how they fought. I watched a few bouts and saw the difference and started implementing them in my game. 

“I started punching the way they do. The way they defend. I stopped twisting and now my power has reached its peak. And I don’t lose my balance too,” says the Indian who spent the past few months with coach Ron Simms Jr at the Charles Houston recreation centre in Virginia.

With fresh knowledge, improved skills and confidence, Vikas Krishan has fresh ambitions. 

“The two times I went for the Olympics, I went as a boxer. I trained the same way everyone did. But this time, it’s my last Games. So, if I continue to train like every other boxer, I may win a medal in Tokyo,” Vikas Krishan said. 

“But, ‘may win a medal’ is not something I want to settle for. I want to win the gold and nothing else. So, when you have something like this driving you, reinventing and preparing comes naturally. It’s all about the target and the lengths you can go to achieve your goal.”