I am god-gifted, channelled anger of previous loss to win Olympic quota: boxer Nishant Dev

New Delhi, Jun 5 (PTI) He claims to have the perfect blend of speed, timing, and power that define a world-beating boxer and that’s why the Olympic-bound Nishant Dev (71kg) says he has no qualms in calling himself “god-gifted”.

His assertion might sound conceited to some but perhaps, this confidence is what earned him a place at the Paris Olympics. The 23-year-old prodigal talent burst into the scene in 2021 when he reached the light middle-weight (71kg) quarterfinal in his maiden world championship appearance.

Two years later, he had a world championship bronze medal around his neck and now he is one of two Indian male boxers who will fly to Paris for the Olympics.

“I am god-gifted, I have everything in me,” Dev replied when asked to elaborate on his strengths.

“I have power, speed and timing. But the main (thing) is skills. If you have that you can win against any kind of boxer,” Dev said in an interaction with select media on Wednesday.

Dev, who struggled with a shoulder niggle for years, booked his place in the Paris Games with a dominant show at the final qualifying event in Bangkok last week. He had narrowly missed out at the previous qualifiers after a heartbreaking loss to Omari Jones of USA.

Confident in his abilities, Dev had then promised to make the Paris cut no matter what it took.

“(There were) shortcomings that I had, like low stamina in third round, my body balance and also the fact that my body function had become a little weak. I didn’t have the body language that one should have in round three. I worked on all of this,” he revealed.

The southpaw lost out in the closing seconds of the bout against Jones after both boxers went toe-to-toe in the first two rounds. Dev said the defeat left him with a lot of pent up anger.

“I have done a lot of work for the competition, I have changed my strategy a bit, like in the first round, I (usually) start calmly. (But) this time I put in the effort from the very first second of the very first round and continued till the last second of the bout.

“I took out my anger from America (the bout against Jones). I had a lot of confidence, that I will win this time.” Gifted he might consider himself but Dev acknowledged that talent alone is not enough and one has to work hard as well like he did for his triumph in Bangkok.

“I used my skills, I hit more body shots to completely exhaust my opponent, drain him of his energy. I have a lot of power inside me, but you cannot win a boxing match on the basis of just power.

“You will have to add small things in it, like speed, timing, power, boxing mind as well. So I mixed up all these things.” After no male boxer from the country made the cut in the first world qualifier, Indian boxing went through a coaching crisis with High Performance Director Bernard Dunne tendering his resignation from Italy itself.

While Dunne’s departure somewhat hampered their training, Indian boxers soon found a silver lining in the crisis. They were now allowed to train on their own beyond the time table set by Dunne.

“Extra training helped because a boxer should be able to use his mind. Even if you are giving 30 minutes extra time, that allows the boxer to think.

“Strategy and all is there but at the end of the day, a boxer has to apply his brain during a bout.”

Source: PTI News


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