Thirty seconds to the final bell of his bout on Thursday, before he caught the big right hand from Sukhdeep Singh, Vikas Krishan must have thought his return to the Indian boxing team was on track. Krishan, who has an Asian Games gold and a World Championship bronze to his name, had taken a break after the 2012 Games. He spent a year completing his DSP training with Haryana Police, got married and, at 22, is a proud father.
Krishan shifted to a heavier category after his return 10 months back. Having won his Asian gold in the 60kg and his World bronze in the 69kg category respectively, Krishan now moved up to the 75kg with the hope of booking a place for the Commonwealth Games.
Eye on the big ones
“Glasgow is crucial for Vikas. He has medals at the Asian and World level. Doing well at the Games will also have an impact on his preparations for the next Olympics,” says Krishan’s coach Jagdeep Hooda.
Making the cut in the middleweight category — home to Olympic bronze medalist Vijender Singh — was hard enough without any injuries to boot.
And so, minutes before they fought each other at the trials for a spot on the Commonwealth games, Vikas Krishan and Sukhdeep Singh — with gloves already strapped on — found time to share a joke. “Elbow mat mar dena,” Krishan said. The last time the two had participated in the trials for the probables to the Commonwealth Games core group, Krishan had caught Sukhdeep with the corner. The resultant cut was minor, but both made it to the core group. This time around, the aim was to avoid injuries that may force them out of the trials itself.
When they got into the ring, Krishan made sure to keep distance from Sukhdeep. While the Punjab boxer kept chasing his opponent, Krishan skipped backwards in circles, constantly changing directions, never letting Sukhdeep get into a rhythm. He would manage to sneak within range and score off his left cross while the only trouble for him was Sukhdeep’s jab. This has been a noticeable Krishan weakness. He stops throwing shots whenever he gets caught on the jab and switches to a shell guard. An experienced boxer would have made this weakness count, but Krishan got lucky.
Out of luck
Luck would run out half a minute before the final bell. Constantly skipping out of range, Krishan changed direction to the wrong side once and was caught with a sharp overhand right. The inch-or-so long cut immediately began to bleed. It was up to the medical official to continue the bout. The doctor gave his go ahead since the cut was to the corner of his eye, which did not impair his field of vision. And although Sukhdeep went for the knock-out blow, or at least ensure the bleeding was too much to be ignored, Krishan escaped further damage and took the bout.
He, though, scarcely celebrated the win and there is no certainty of his continuing in the trials.
If Krishan is ruled out of Friday’s final bout, it would mean a walkover for reigning middleweight champ Vijender and will thus prevent the first bout in the country between two World Championship medalists.
Referee stops contest, injured boxers protest
Patiala: While Vikas Krishan managed to box on and win his bout despite getting a cut along the eye line, another boxer wasn’t that lucky. Preeti Beniwal’s bout against Pavitra in the 60kg category was stopped in the last round after the ringside doctor decided the injury prevented Beniwal from continuing the bout safely.
What followed was Beniwal — seen as the primary competitor to 60 kg mainstay Sarita Devi — choking back tears while insisting she could continue. Father Subey Singh then jumped into the ring and refused to leave, all the while calling out the injustice he felt was being done to his daughter. The sit-in resulted in the last couple of fights being delayed.
The decision to stop the fight could not be argued with as it remains the prerogative of the ring side doctor. The cut over Beniwal’s left eye was right in the middle of her eyeline and while the boxer insisted she could continue, the cut would have bled right into her eye. This was in contrast to Vikas Krishan’s bout where the bout was allowed to go on because the cut was not deemed to be impairing his vision.
Indeed the fight could have been stopped as early as the second round itself when the cut first began to show. However, what added to the protestors frustration was the fact that Beniwal appeared to be leading on most scorecards .
The matter of dispute was then about who won the fight. It remains uncertain whether the blow which caused the injury to Beniwal was due to a legal punch. AIBA’s representative in India said the winner of the bout was not yet decided.