Away from spotlight, India’s middleweight boxer Ashish Kumar works on his strength

Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, Ashish Kumar may not enjoy the favorite tag, but the middleweight boxer doesn’t let that get to him. Currently attending the Olympic preparatory camp in Assisi, Italy he is content being away from the spotlight.

This helps me stay focused, Ashish told Sportskeeda.

“Being away from the spotlight works for me. It gives me enough room to work on my strength and stay focused.”

The 26-year-old boxer from Himachal Pradesh will make his Olympic debut in the 75kg category. In 2008, India’s Vijender Singh won bronze in the same category.

Ashish is one of nine Indian boxers heading to Tokyo. He sealed his Summer Games berth at the Asian/Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament in Amman, Jordan in March 2020.

Away from the limelight, Ashish is working on his strength to make an impact on his debut.

He said:

“Our Olympic preparation has entered the home stretch. Since my preliminary round match starts on July 27, the main focus is to stay healthy, maintain weight and peak at the right time.”

Besides maintaining his own fitness, the Indian boxer keeps an eye on his opponents.

“We have to study the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents and work out strategies to gain the upper hand in the competition.”

According to Ashish, middleweight is the toughest of all the categories.

“If a boxer doesn’t have a good combination of speed and strength, it will be a challenging task to survive in the early rounds of a major competition.”

In the buildup to the Olympics, Ashish faced an uphill task. In March, he tested positive for COVID-19 during an international competition in Spain.

According to Ashish, he had a mild fever for a day before his semifinal bout, but it left him in isolation for seven days in Spain.

“Locked within the four walls of the room for a week in Spain was sort of a psychological battle for me. I recovered faster than expected,” he reveals.

On his return to India, Ashish had to undergo another week in quarantine before he could join the national camp in Patiala.

He has put this episode behind him. Ashish is now looking forward to a good showing in Japan.

“I’m ready to face tough opponents from European nations, including Russia.”

The Indian team, currently in Italy, will fly directly to Tokyo on July 17.

Amit Panghal (52 kg), Manish Kaushik (63 kg), Vikas Krishan Yadav (69kg) and Satish Kumar (91 kg) are the other four male boxers who will represent India at the Tokyo Olympics.

London 2012 bronze medalist Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 kg) and Pooja Rani (75 kg) have qualified in the women’s category.

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