Nickson Abaka’s Twitter bio reads: With faith you can move mountains. At 34, Kenya’s World Military Games Bronze medallist would qualify as an elder statesman on the boxing circuit.
True to the stereotype, he talks with rare wisdom and quiet confidence. The bluster one associates with bloodthirsty pugilists is not for him, or the trash talk of brutalising opponents or putting them through hell. If at all, the soft-spoken armyman from Nairobi appears dignified while assessing his chances against Vikas Krishan Yadav, who he meets on Saturday in Noida.
“I am not underestimating Vikas. In boxing, you can’t underestimate anyone,” said the captain of Kenya’s defence boxing team.
“It’s true that he has age on his side, but I have the experience. In boxing, they say ‘wise men box, fools fight.’ I guess I am wise,” he winks.
Abaka is not new to India or pro-boxing. He was in Hyderabad in 2007 to participate in World Military Games and made his AIBA Pro-Boxing Debut in October 2014. In between, he went to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing after finishing second in the AIBA African Qualification.
At the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, Abaka reached the quarterfinals where he lost to eventual champion Anthony Fowler.
Like Vikas, Abaka views the APB bout as a stepping stone to Olympic dreams. “I hope to represent my country in Rio,” he says.