Amateur boxing is all about half steps and half-punches; it's about half twists and half turns. But they all convert into one full point. There's no space for half measures nor is there room for half-hearted souls who would twitch on the slightest contact and cry in pain.
Blood, scars, broken jaws and bones are the trophies the pugilists proudly display when asked about their preparations and their zest for the sport. Indian pugilists are no different. Of late, they have been blossoming and, as their rendezvous in the Orient begins on Saturday, they have gone into a shell --- only concentrating on their preparations and avoiding any unwanted hullabaloo.
Their confidence has grown with each passing day and they are now not bothered about the luck of the draws. "I don't want to know who my opponent is. All I want to do is fight," said Vijender. The Commonwealth Games silver-medallist and Asian Games bronze-medallist will face Zambia's Jack Badou in the opening round.
"We have all been preparing hard for this grand occasion," said Dinesh Kumar who will take on Algeria's Ramazan Magamadau in 81kg category at the Worker's Gymnasium on Saturday. This is the only category out of 11 where Cuba has failed to field a boxer.
Coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu, who is usually more defensive than his boxers, exuded confidence on the eve of the bouts. "We are not bothered about the draw."
Having four full practice sessions at the Ditan University, the boxers seemed well set for the Saturday start. The anxiety they had before stepping on the weighing machine had turned into ecstasy. No one was over-weight.
"Although we were not too worried about the weights, there's always that lurking fear," said Sandhu. Though there's no promise of a medal, the coach is expecting the boxers to do well.
"They have been practicing day in and day out, and now with the draws out, our initial anxiety has been overcome," said Sandhu adding, "We are ready for the bouts to begin."
A record number of five boxers have qualified for this edition of the Games. Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Akhil Kumar (54kg) will step into the ring on August 12 against Hallab Ali of France, while Jitender Kumar (51kg) will face Ulas Farkan Memis of Turkey on the same day.