Vikas seeks professional boxing route to Rio Olympics

  • Shantanu Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 11, 2016 11:36 IST
Vikas Yadav and Nickson Abaka of Kenya during the weigh-in in New Delhi on Friday, a day before the first AIBA Pro Boxing Night in the country. (PTI)

Vikas Krishan Yadav has a habit of running in circles. Those who watched him glide seamlessly at the World Championships quarterfinals in Doha would know. That bout, which Vikas lost to Egypt’s Hosam Abdin, left a lot of unanswered questions for India’s non-existent boxing administration.

After gracefully swirling about the ring and landing most of his punches for much of the bout, the 0-3 verdict did little to justify his efforts. Vikas believes not having a national federation was one of the major reasons for the loss.

“You can ask my coach what happened in that bout,” he says. The loss still rankles. “I don’t have the face to face you (reporters),” said coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu, when asked about the federation issue.

More on that later, for the only concern Vikas nurses is that of an Olympic berth. If Doha robbed him of a genuine chance, Noida is set to open a fresh avenue for a Rio berth. The 2014 Asian Games bronze-medallist will make his professional debut in the satellite town on Saturday against Kenya’s World Military Games bronze medallist Nickson Abaka. The bout makes Vikas eligible to participate in the final Olympic Qualifier in Venezuela in July. In between, he will travel to the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) World Olympic Qualifier in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Nudge him about the possibility of turning professional, and Vikas begins to run in circles. “I have not decided on it yet. I will consult my friends and family and think over it. I may turn pro. But my ultimate aim is to represent India.”


Call it confusion or the need to be politically correct, similar cobwebs forced him into a yearlong sabbatical in 2013. After losing another contentious bout to USA’s Errol Spence in the pre-quarterfinals of the London Olympics, Vikas spent much of 2013 at the Haryana Police Training Centre in Madhuban until boxing wooed him back. Now, with two Olympic qualification chances beckoning, Vikas is, well, confused.

“After Saturday’s bout, I am going to Baku for sure. But I am not sure if I’ll go to Venezuela if I seal a Rio berth in Baku…but I think I’ll still go to Venezuela to get some experience as we have not had many bouts of late because of the issues regarding our federation.”

The mention of federation, or lack of it, gets Sandhu going. He was at the ringside when Vijender Singh won the Olympic bronze in Beijing. He was there, gesticulating frantically, when Vikas lost in Doha.

“All I can say is when you start fighting among yourselves; you are bound to go down. We were doing so well at the Asian and Commonwealth levels, but post 2012, things have gone downwards. If you don’t have age-group events and national championships, there will be no future of boxing in India.”

Fresh lease of life

Pro-boxing, however, offers a fresh lease of life to the sport, he believes.

Vikas is also upbeat about the new format. “He (Abaka) may be more experienced, but I guess I have more stamina and better reflexes,” the 24-year-old said.

This will be Vikas’ second professional bout. He lost his maiden pro bout to local boy Israil Madrimov in Uzbekistan earlier this year.

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