Olympics: Vikas to try the pro route too

NEW DELHI:While most Indian boxers will have their last chance of getting an Olympic ticket at the final Olympic qualifying event for amateurs in Baku later this month, Vikas Krishan has kept his options open. Vikas, who will leave for Baku on June 12, will be fighting his second bout under the aegis of AIBA Pro Boxing a day before, making him eligible to try and qualify as a professional as well. He blamed the administrative mess in Indian boxing for being forced to try all possible avenues.

Vikas Krishnan.

“Had there been a proper federation, not just me but several other boxers would have qualified much earlier. You can check the way close bouts went against us in previous qualifiers, or even the way the bouts were drawn up. A strong federation support does help in such matters.
“I have spent 15 years working hard on boxing, it’s my career. How can I back off and not look to qualify in any possible way just because there is no federation,” Vikas told The Hindu on Wednesday.

At the 2012 London Games, Vikas lost in the round-of-16 after a review. Having moved up a weight category since then, he is determined to make it count this time.

“I am confident of qualifying at Baku. Not just because I know I am good enough, but also because the top countries like USA, Cuba, China, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have already qualified. So it could be easier in terms of competition. But, my friend and organiser Neeraj Goyat insisted on me having this (June 11) bout under my belt to keep the chances open,” said Vikas.

Having trained under former USA national coach Willie Moses, Vikas is also working to get his professional act ready. “I haven’t decided yet but I have been training for six to eight round bouts, and working on my strength and stamina even now so the pro fight won’t be difficult. If I qualify, I will again train under Moses for a month before Rio,” he said.

Asked if he is worried about getting injured, Vikas admitted that he was not interested in the final result. “If there is even a little chance of getting hurt, I will pull back. Winning or losing is immaterial, this bout only helps me become eligible for the July event for pros in Venezuela,” he said.

Vikas will face off against Nickson Otieno Abaka of Kenya, a former World Military Games medallist.

Unlike in wrestling, where the Sushil Kumar-Narsingh Yadav issue went to court, Vikas insisted that he was open to trials against Vijender Singh (they both fight in the 75kg category) even if he won a quota place at Baku. “I am not scared of any trials,” he declared.