New Delhi: In a historic first for Indian boxing, former Asian Games gold-medallist Vikas Krishan will be presented the 'Best Boxer' award by the International Boxing Association for his performance this year, during the world body's 70th anniversary celebrations on December 20.
"In recognition of your achievements throughout the year, AIBA would like to use the occasion to present you with the 2016 AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) Best Boxer award," AIBA President wrote in a letter sent to the two-time Olympian.
The 24-year-old Vikas is currently in New Jersey, USA. He he has been training there for more than a fortnight to prepare for the season ahead.
The two-time Asian Games medallist, a gold in 2010 and a bronze in 2014, Vikas competed in two APB bouts this year.
He lost the first but went on to beat Kenya's Nickson Abaka in the second bout that was held in Delhi which was conducted by the Professional Boxing Organisation of India (PBOI). Abaka is currently placed 8th in the AIBA APB rankings.
"It is a huge honour but I am not particularly happy because I have already missed what I really wanted this year and that is an Olympic medal," Vikas told PTI over phone from New Jersey.
The Haryana-lad, who is also a former World Championships bronze medallist, had gone down in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics.
"I am told I am the first Indian boxer to get such an award. That is a great thing but I cannot say that it makes me very happy because the Olympic disappointment is still there," the middleweight boxer said.
Vikas said he decided to be in US for training to improve his defensive skills.
"I have decided to set small goals for myself. So right now I am focussing on the World Championships next year. Tokyo Olympics is far off and by that time I intend to have a flawless game. I am training like a professional boxer so that I master the art of defence," he said.
"I want to build a momentum which carries me through. In 2019 when the Olympic qualifiers start, I want to be the first Indian boxer to qualify so that I get enough time to plan. I qualified too late for Rio, just a couple of months before the Games. I don't want that to happen again," he said.
"I don't want to leave it to the last moment," he added.
During the same gala, the celebrated M C Mary Kom will be presented the 'Legends Award' in recognition of her contribution to the sport.