Vikas Krishan wins gold, adjudged Best Boxer at Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria
It was double delight for Indian boxer Vikas Krishan at the Strandja Memorial Tournament here as he didn’t just claim a gold medal but was also adjudged the best boxer of the event in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia -- a first for an Indian.
The 26-year-old defeated world championships bronze-medallist Troy Isley of the USA in the middle-weight (75kg) finals to claim his first medal since the Asian Championships bronze last year in April-May.
It was a massive turnaround for Vikas, who had not just been laid low by a hand injury but had also found himself in the disciplinary line of fire after giving a walkover in his Asian Championships semifinal last year.
“It is a big comeback for me and I feel I am a much stronger boxer now. Maintaining my weight at an optimum level, which used to be a problem earlier, is no longer an issue for me. I have also improved my technique and endurance,” Vikas Krishnan told PTI.
“The hand injury was also bothering me for a quite a while but I have got a grip on that too. So things are looking bright. I used to sometimes deflate after the first round but that’s no longer the case, I am in a good space,” added the boxer, who is currently training with former teammate Jay Patil.
Along with Vikas, Amit Panghal (49kg) claimed a gold medal, rounding off India’s best ever performance at the tournament. The country ended with a whopping 11 medals -- five from men and six from women boxers. In all, the contingent clinched two gold, three silver and six bronze medals.
“I beat some good opponents in the run-up to the final and that is a massive boost for my confidence,” said Vikas.
The former Asian Games gold medal winner, who is also a world championships bronze-medallist, said he also cleared some mental cobwebs to get back in form.
“I read a quote by a chess player a few days back in which he said ‘I started winning after I realised that even my opponent is as scared of losing as I am’. I liked it, in fact it helped me in understanding that it’s no big deal to be anxious before a fight,” he said.
“Now if my rival is as anxious as I am, I can certainly capitalise on that, which I did in this tournament,” he added.
Finishing with silver medals were M C Mary Kom (48kg), who got a raw deal in the final, Seema Poonia (+81kg) and Gaurav Solanki (52kg). The bronze medal winners among the women were Meena Kumari Devi (54kg), L Sarita Devi (60kg), Saweety Boora (75kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg).
Among the men, last edition’s silver-medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg), and former Asian Games bronze-medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg) ended in third position.