In an exclusive interview with the Hindustan Times after his quarterfinal bout, Vijender spoke about his latest achievement and the semifinal bout on September 11.
Now that you are assured of a World Championship medal, what’s the feeling like?
Winning medals for the country give sportspersons the greatest satisfaction. The championship is not over yet and I have a semifinal bout coming up. So, I am concentrating on that rather than celebrating.
You were confident of winning a medal even before you left Indian shores. How was that?
Indian boxers are second to none in the world. So, if a Cuban or a Russian can be confident of winning medals, why can’t we? The Beijing success has given me immense self-belief and because of that I was confident of making it to the podium in the World Championship.
Post-Beijing, people have started expecting a medal from you in every event. Does that put added pressure on you?
There was no such pressure on me. But I wanted India to open its account in the World Championship this time around. We didn’t have a very good start and because of which there was some pressure on me. Later, we started winning and two of us made it to the quarterfinals.
Before your bout, Dinesh lost his quarterfinal. Did that put you under pressure?
Dinesh gave it his best shot. Winning and losing are part of the game. Moreover, he made it to the quarterfinal on debut…that is a big achievement.
After your Olympic medal, the following for boxing went up manifold. Now, after your World Championship exploits what do you foresee?
I want to see boxing grow like cricket and every boxer hogging the limelight. Hopefully, with the start of the World Boxing Series, the sport will get its due.
After the Olympics, you drew criticism for skipping the World Cup. Critics started saying you were more interested in enjoying life than moving ahead in the sport…
I have said it on so many occasions that boxing is my first love. It’s my passion and my identity is through the sport. I skipped the World Cup because I had my own schedule and was working according to it. The result is in front of you.
On your next bout.
I am confident of putting up a good show and will fight according to a set game plan in the next bout.