Tokyo Olympics: Boxer Vikas Krishan Yadav to InsideSport, “This is my last Olympics” – Vikas Krishan Yadav once thought he knew all there was to know about boxing. With three medals at the Asian Games, one at the Commonwealth Games, a bronze at the World Championships and two — going on three — Olympics appearances to his name over a decade-long senior international career, it is a fair assessment on his part. But his shocking knockout in the 2016 Rio Games in the quarterfinals had left him and his fans flabbergasted.
In two month’s time, he will be entering the ring once again at the grandest stage of all, but this time it will be different. The 29-year-old is more disciplined, focussed and even more determined to win gold for India in the last Olympic Game of his country The experienced Indian pugilist will be part of the Indian squad flying to Dubai for the Asian Championship which will be his new testing ground in the run-up to the Tokyo Games. In an exclusive conversation with InsideSport, the lightweight boxer talks about his journey as a boxer, training for Tokyo amongst other things.
Q. Tell us about your journey as a Boxer.
A: My journey in boxing has been very much south as I have won medals at national as well as international level, nearly every year. I did not suffer that many injuries in my career.
Q. Could you share with us your daily fitness routine?
A: My daily routine consists of endurance, on some days it’s more of strength and some days it’s more of a cardio workout. Ahead of the competition, I train myself for speed and specific boxing training.
Q. You were recently dropped to 69kg from 75kg. What was the reason behind it?
A: I feel that the Tokyo Olympics is going to be my last Olympics game and then I want to spend time with my family and have a different kind of life. So, my friend Niraj Goyat suggested me to play in the 69 weight category. My weight comes to 71 -72 during hard training. So I just had to cut two and a half kg. So that was not a big deal for me thus I followed his advice and changed my category.
Q. You trained for 2 months in the USA. How was the experience training there?
A: I trained in the US for two and a half months. It was really a nice experience there I trained with some of the hard boxers. They punch really hard and they don’t back out. So, I got the experience and toughness from them. And apart from that, I increased my strength there when I was training.
Q. You even stayed with a wrestler when the Olympic camp started. Who was he and how did he inspire you?
A: One of my wrestling friends his name is Paramjeet Singh Yadav, I stayed with him and learned how to be disciplined. I also learned about nutrition and training. So he has been very influential in my life and I feel that I won the 2018 Common Wealth Game and Asian Games medal.
Q. In March 2021, you defeated the 2012 London Olympic Games bronze medallist Vicenzo Mangiacapre. Talk us through that match?
A: Yes, I defeated a boxer from Italy in March this year his name was Vicenzo Mangiacapre. I think that bout was one-sided. I dominated all three rounds, but I don’t know how judges scored. I was confident that the score will be 5-0. But they made it close and in the end, I won. I hit him with some power shots and I felt like he was just an ordinary guy in front of me.
Q. How Important do you think mind games are in Boxing?
A: Most people think that boxing is played with physical strength but I feel boxing is more of mental strength. As you know physical toughness can be increased by time but mental toughness is very difficult to increase. So I think boxing is more of a mental and psychological game than a physical.
Q. In the current situation getting foreign camps and training is becoming tough. How much is it affecting your preparations?
A: The situation is okay. We are not getting the training and foreign camps, but all the world boxer are also not getting it. So that’s not only our bad. The world is going through this pandemic. We have to face it. It’s not a big deal. But we are coming out of this and now we have started our training again. Now our team is going somewhere for training and now our team is going for Asian chairmanship. So we are getting a couple of tools and that’s okay for the preparation.
Q. You are only second India to qualify for Three Olympics. What is different this year from Vikas of 2016 or 2012?
A: When I qualified in 2012 and 2016, I was not a disciplined guy. I was not disciplined even in terms of training, creation and recovery. But in 2020 I am a much more disciplined and focused guy, and I believe in myself now, and I think I’m going to get the gold medal this year at my last Olympics.
Q. What do you do in the past time? You have been reading some books also, which one?
A: Yes, I don’t want to waste my time. I am very fond of reading books. Some days back I read the book ‘The Power of Your Subconscious Mind’. Now I am reading ‘Mind Games’. Books influence you because they are written by people who have spent all their lives in these sports, all their lives searching for something.