When Lovlina Borgohain climbed atop the podium in Tokyo to receive her bronze medal, she could only muster a small smile. More than winning the bronze, it seemed that she had lost the gold. After the match, she had no qualms in accepting that she had gone there to be the best and will not stop unless she captures the top spot on an Olympic podium.
But why couldn't she win the prized medal? Her semifinal opponent Busenaz Sumenili was a better boxer on the day and outpunched her with her vicious hooks and body shots. But Borgohain thinks that she could have outwitted the gold winner if she was better prepared.
"I think I lost that bout because of my lack of training. Due to Covid and my personal injuries I could not train to the maximum. You always prepare differently for the Olympics but I think I could not do that. If I had been in continuous training I would have defeated her," she reminisced to Olympics.com.
"I had nothing but gold in my mind in Tokyo," she added after a brief pause.
The boxer has already set her sights on Paris 2024 as she is not willing to settle with anything less than gold in her next attempt. The preparations have already started and with the World Championships postponed, she is has got more time to work on her weaknesses.
"I am using the time to work on my strength. Previously, I had stated that I need to improve my strength. So for the past four months, I have been doing strength training. Now I feel much better. So I have taken the break very positively," she explained.
It is interesting that Borgohain has already chalked out her future if she wins gold in Paris.
"I like professional boxing a lot. I had thought that if I win gold in Tokyo I will shift to professional boxing. But I stopped at bronze. So in Paris, the target is gold. After that, I can join professional boxing," she revealed.
Very few know that she is an avid follower of legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather and tries to emulate him.
"He doesn't have a fixed style. He is a different boxer in every bout and has a game plan for every boxer. I also like to have different styles. I track a variety of styles and I want to inculcate them in my game. I try to learn that from him. But at the same time, I have to keep in mind that I cannot copy him blindly because he is built differently. Moreover, a boxer should have her own signature as well. You learn the good things and yet preserve your individuality," she said.
No problem in appearing for a trial
There was a lot of talk when national champion Arundhati Chowdhury moved court to challenge BFI's (Boxing Federation of India) decision of selecting Borgohain as India's representative in the World Championship without a trial. However, with the competition postponed to May 2022, the federation informed the court that fresh trials would be conducted and everyone will be a fair chance.
The Olympic-medal winner had maintained her silence but she finally spoke her mind.
"I have no problems in appearing for a trial. I always accept the decision of my federation. It was the federation's decision to not have trials, I had accepted that. Now if the federation wants to conduct a trial I have no problem whatsoever. I am a fighter and I just believe in fighting in the ring," she stated.
There's little doubt that her fighting instincts will be tested to the limit in 2022 when she will be participating in three major tournaments -- the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games, and the World Championships. She will once again lock horns against the best and if she can come out unscathed it will be a step in the right direction.
"Whenever you participate in a competition, you want to win gold. My ultimate target is to win gold in Paris. So the big tournaments next year will provide me with a platform to test my preparations for Paris 2024. I will be up against the best so it will give me a good reality check. You can also try out a few different things in these competitions. But in the Olympics, you have to win and you just stick to the winning formula," she stated.
2022 will definitely offer a glimpse that whether Lovlina 2.0 has it in herself to establish herself as a world-beater.