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Commonwealth Games 2018: All eight boxers assured of medals

There was friendly banter between India coach Dharmender Yadav and Northern Ireland coach John Conlan.

Published: 12th April 2018 01:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2018 07:25 AM   |  A+A-

Vikas Krishan (R) beat Zambia’s Benny Muziyo to enter 75kg category semis. | PTI

Express News Service

GOLD COAST: There was friendly banter between India coach Dharmender Yadav and Northern Ireland coach John Conlan. Yadav called him and asked if he would be willing to speak to the Indian media. The Northern Ireland team has been ignoring the media here. Conlan asked if they were Irish.

“Otherwise, I will not speak to them,” he said. There have been issues with their boxers. The captain of Northern Ireland has been banned from Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach after getting involved in a night brawl. The incident left a sour taste. Finally, Conlan agreed.

“India have good boxers and we are following them closely,” he said.

His slanted reference to India’s Vikas Krishan was evident. Vikas ensured a medal after storming into the semis and will meet Conlan’s ward Steven Donnelly.

The two teams are friendly and know each other. But on Friday, there will be no friendship when they meet in the ring at the Village Roadshow Studios in Oxenford. Vikas is obtrusive at times.

He dismisses Irish boxers with disdain and doesn’t consider them a threat.

“I can tackle them,” he said after his win by the unanimous verdict against Benny Muziyo of Zambia. The southpaw’s ferocious punches on the body opened his rival up and Vikas kept pounding him with his crisp rights.

There was no surprise when the referee raised his hand.

“I saw that his speed was low and power was higher. I punched him in the stomach and that reduced his stamina,” said Vikas.

With the win, all eight Indian male boxers have ensured medals. It was not an ideal start for the boxing contingent. The team found itself in a controversy after syringes were found in their room. After much brouhaha, the CWG Federation let them off with a warning.

“We tried to stay away from everything. We were confident that there was nothing there,” said India coach Santiago Nieva.

Then Vikas was unwell and missed practice too. He is slowly getting back into the groove. Santiago agreed the rhythm that was missing in his first bout was back in the second. His moves and punches were more accurate.

“He missed a few sparring sessions before the event,” said Santiago. “He didn’t really perform at his level in the last bout. He performed well for half the bout but then lost focus. But this one was comfortable.” Even Vikas was anxious.

“Keeping focus became hard after what happened last week. The pressure on me increased. Before the fight, I was under too much pressure,” he said.

Vikas is mulling a change. He is planning to fulfil his long-time desire of turning professional. With the IOC allowing professional boxers into its fold, it was not difficult for him to take the decision.

“Since IOC has allowed professionals to take part in the Olympics if they qualify, things will be easy for me.”

Besides boxing, he has been taking police training too. “I’m learning police work,” he said.

BOXING

  • Women’s 45-48kg semifinal: MC Mary Kom bt Anusha Koddithuwakku (SL) 5-0. 
  • 60kg quarterfinal: Anja Stridsman (AUS) bt Sarita Devi 5-0.
  • 51kg: Lisa Whiteside (ENG) bt Pinki Rani 3-2.
  • Men’s 52kg quarterfinal: Gaura Solanki bt Charles Keama (PNG) 5-0.
  • 75kg: Vikas Krishan bt Benny Muziyo (ZAM) 5-0. 
  • 60kg: Manish Kaushik bt Calum French (ENG) 5-0.
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