The next timeA�Vikas Krishan Yadav steps in the ring, he carries theA�hopes and dreams of every Indian on his shoulders.
The hopes of what will be the first of the many medals that will be won by the Indian contingent. He does have a tough quarterfinal oppent in Bektemir Melikuziev, but the Indian boxer is determined to win a gold medal and nothing else. ‘He (Melikuziev) is the toughest in the group. Mark my words, if I am able to defeat him, I will return home with a gold. I won’t take a silver or bronze. I will return empty-handed or the gold medal. Gold is assured if I get past him.’ A little cocky if you ask me, but that is what champions are made up of, confidence and talent to back all the talk.
And talent he has, having won medals in his first three tournaments including; a gold at the Asian games, a goldA�at the Youth WorldA�Amateur Boxing Championships and a bronze medal at the Youth Olympics (all in 2010). He did participate in the 2012 Olympics, but even though he won his bout 13:11, his opponentA�Errol Spence successfully appealed to theA�Amateur International Boxing Association, claiming the referee had failed to notice the Indian boxerA�committing fouls and intentionally spitting out his mouth guard. India did lodged a counter appeal, but it failed and he was eliminated.
His coach Jagdip Hooda said in an interview, ‘We are feeling very proud of him. But still the race is still on and we have to strive for a medal. We will definitely try for a gold medal’ He further spoke about his pupils bout saying ‘It is going to be a very interesting bout.A�We have worked on each and every weakness of Vikas and we have a strategy as to how we can attack on the weaknesses of theA�Bektemir Melikuziev’
The youngA�Uzbekistani boxer has beaten Vikas last year in the 2015 Asian Boxing Championships, but Vikas says that ‘I was not in form then (at Asian Championships), while he was at his peak. I’ve picked my rhythm now.’ Vikas however did have this to say about Bektemir ‘He’s a bit powerful and a bit heavier in weight. But he does not have a height advantage. He has the power and stamina, he is young’
National boxing coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu also prasied the 24 year old Indian boxer on his fight against Sipal Onder at the Rio centro Pavilion. ‘It was a very good performance from Vikas in the pre-quarterfinals. He played very intelligently.’ The coach also believes that Krishan holds all the cards for his quarterfinal bout, but it’s all up to him even though it will be a tough match. ‘Bektemir Melikuziev is a very good boxer. But Vikas can do anything. You can expect anything from him if it?s his day. We are all positive and hopefully he will perform very well,’
A win here will ensure a medal for the Indians but the boxer wants to go one better than his Indian counterpart Vijender Singh who won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics inA�Beijing.