There was a point right before Rio Olympics where Vikas Krishan had decided that he would not be competing at the Tokyo 2020. There was also talk that the boxer could follow into the footsteps of another 75kg pugilist Vijender Singh and turn pro.
However, having faltered after coming agonisingly close to a medal at Rio, the 24-year-old has clearly had a rethink on both those decisions.
“I’d said back then that whatever happens will happen after Rio. I had said that I had not made a decision about turning professional. I was very disappointed to miss out on a medal in Rio. That’s the reason why I won’t turn professional for now. I want to win my country an (Olympic) medal before I turn pro,” Krishan said indicating his intention to compete at the Tokyo Games four years later.
The 24-year-old added that he struggled to cope with pressure at Rio. Krishan lost in the quarters to eventual silver medallist Melikuziev Bektemir.
“There was a lot of pressure on me in Rio for various reasons. I now box in the same weight class as Vijender, who had won a bronze medal at Beijing Olympics. So that (expectations) was one factor. The fact that I was boxing on Independence Day also added to the pressure besides the fact that India was yet to open its medal tally in Rio till that point. These factors led me to not give my best at Rio,” Krishan said.
Krishan made his Olympics debut at London four years ago. Back then he fought in the 69kg weight class, but now has moved up to 75kg — a switch that also played a pronounced role in Rio. On the day of the weigh-in, he was just 71kgs, while most of his rivals were just below 75kgs. That four-kg difference was too much to ignore.
“Till the 69kg weight class, the emphasis is on speed. From the 75kg category, the focus shifts to power. My weight was a distinct disadvantage at Rio,” he recalled.
What made matters worse is that Krishan has barely trained against southpaws. Bektemir, who defeated Krishan 3-0 in the quarters, is a southpaw.
“I’ve always struggled against southpaws,” he added.