CHENNAI: Veteran boxer Vikas Krishan Yadav is back in familiar surroundings. And he’s leaner and meaner. Confidence is evident in the Haryana man’s voice as he spoke about his rich experience in the US, where the 2011 World Championships bronze medallist had trained for almost two months. Currently under quarantine in Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) in Vijayanagar, the three-time Olympian said that he has made giant strides when it comes to endurance — something the 28-year-old conceded that he was lacking in recent times — and is eager to apply what he has learnt during the upcoming national camp and future tournaments. Excerpts...
How was your experience in the US?
I had a fruitful training. My endurance has improved immensely. Now, three rounds are not a big deal for me. I can fight around eight rounds easily. Endurance was something that was lacking in my game in recent times. If I’m tired, nobody will be able to see that on my face. I did plenty of running, sprints, long rounds (15/20 minutes) of bag training.
On strengthening defence
The other thing that I had wanted to improve was defence and there has been a significant improvement in that aspect as well. My immediate target is to take the least number of punches while sparring during the national camp. And I want to apply the same during competitions in future. I know Olympics is a different level and it is going to be hard. But I want to work on the defensive side of my game and improve as much as possible. If I can improve my defence, it will be easy to play counter and move to positions where I can fetch points.
On mixing with pro-US boxers
I trained with some of the top professionals out there. US boxing is different from ours; they are more inclined towards professional boxing, so they are always looking to hurt you. We (Indians) are more focussed on scoring points. So it was good to see that side of the game and learn. I defended well against those boxers and I’m more confident now. I feel I can do much better against amateur boxers.
On impressing self
Before I left, I wanted to ensure that I come back as a different person. I wanted everyone to take notice that I have improved. Now that I’m back at IIS, I just want to show what I have learnt, that I’m a more composed pugilist and can keep up during long gruelling bouts. This is not to impress others, for myself.
On feeling homesick in US
The coach (Ronald Simms; who’s expected reach India soon) was always there. I was feeling a little homesick so my good friend Neeraj Goyat also joined me last month. You train for long periods but you still have some time in hand. And sometimes you do feel alone. So I called him and we trained together and it was good to have him. He’s like my brother.