Twice he has been to the Olympics and both times he has returned empty-handed. But Vikas Krishan is not giving up on his dream of becoming the second Indian male boxer to win an Olympic medal. Nine months after he made his pro debut in the United States, Krishan is back at the national camp in National Institute of Sports, Patiala in his quest to earn his spot on the Indian team for the Tokyo Olympics.

“It’s been a month that I came back and I returned to participate in Tokyo Olympics,” he said. “I have some back issues so I am recovering. Once that is done, I will start my full training.”

The 27-year-old was in Newark for the past nine months and competed in two professional bouts, winning both of them. But Krishan is now back to what he calls home. Since he first broke into the Indian team in 2009, Krishan has lived at the NIS Patiala hostel for most part of his career.

“Newark mein hotel se gym, gym se hotel. Now I am back at NIS hostel where I have lived for 10 years. Tokyo journey will start from here,” he said.

Newark was a special journey for him. In November last year, he signed with America-based Top Rank Promotions to make a career in Pro boxing. He fought two bouts under them and was preparing for the third but could not because of the back injury.

“I was supposed to fight on the same card as Vijender in July. But my back gave me a lot of issues. I had suffered a stress fracture and it takes a lot of time to recover,” Krishan said.

Not an easy task

While Krishan is still getting acclimatised to the weather in Patiala, he is yet to train with the national team at the camp since he is not part of the camp. It won’t be easy for him to break into the team.

With the World Championships team already announced and Ashish making the cut for 75 kg, Krishan will have to wait till November for the Olympic trials if Ashish returns from Moscow without a medal.

Before the Rio Olympics in 2016, AIBA had announced that pro boxers can qualify for Olympics through WSB and APB qualifying tournaments. But with International Olympic Committee taking over the qualification process for the 2020 Tokyo Games, the only way to make the cut is through the world and continental qualifiers.

Krishan is confident he can make the team having boxed in the pro circuit which has given him immense confidence. Not only has his boxing skills improved, but Krishan feels is has became smarter as well.

“I wasn’t this confident before the London and Rio Games. After boxing in pro circuit, it’s completely different,” he said. “I can win a medal. It’s much harder in pro where one punch can knock you down however good boxer you are.

“As a boxer in pro, you are alone. You have to manage everything and that makes you more dependent and you think a lot.”

The Commonwealth Games champion says when he signed the contract with Top Rank, he had made it clear that Olympics will be his priority and the new qualification rules did not leave him with any option but to return to India.

“I can qualify for Olympics as an amateur boxer only,” he said. “I told Top Rank when I was signing my contract that my focus is on that and despite missing my pro bout, I cannot miss the Olympics.”

But Krishan is also in constant contact with Wally Moses in Newark. Moses keeps checking on his fitness and schedule of sparring and the boxer is hopeful that it will help him in his journey and also return to pro boxing again.