Rio de Janeiro:
An American ended his Olympic dream in 2012 amid controversial circumstances and Vikas Krishan will have redemption on mind when he takes on another American Charles Conwell in his opening bout to kick off India’s boxing campaign in the Olympic Games on Tuesday.
Seeded seventh in the middleweight draw, the only Indian boxer to get a billing in the Games, Vikas will be up against a greenhorn opponent in Conwell, merely 18 years of age and making his debut in the mega-event.
The 24-year-old Indian, on the other hand, has grown quite literally, moving from welterweight to middleweight after the London debacle against Errol Spence—the American who was initially adjudged the loser before successfully appealing against the decision on technical grounds.
Vikas would be aiming to make amends for all that had gone wrong in 2012.
Among the three Indian boxers in fray, Vikas’ draw has turned out to be most favourable and the biggest challenge that he might come across will be in the quarterfinals where second seed Bektemir Melikuziev could be waiting for him.
Incidentally, middleweight is the category which gave India its maiden Olympic medal through Vijender Singh back in 2008.
A day after Vikas’s bout, the three-member Indian team’s seniormost boxer Manoj Kumar (64kg) will be in action against Lithuania’s former lightweight Olympic bronze-medallist Evaldas Petrauskas.
On Thursday, the squad’s youngest Shiva Thapa (56kg), a World Championships bronze-medallist, will square off against Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez, seeded sixth and flyweight Olympic champion from the 2012 Games.