"In amateur boxing, we would throw punches to score or to win only. Pro boxers punch to hurt you and ensure that their next opponent is scared of your power," says Vikas Krishan, just days away from his second professional fight, this time against Noah "Handz" Kidd on the undercard of the Amir Khan-Terence Crawford clash on Saturday.
"You're fighting with harder guys. You're training harder as well. You can say in pro boxing, everything is a better version of the amateur sport."
Vikas Krishan poses after his fight against Steven Andrade in January. Image courtesy: Top Rank Boxing
Krishan's first foray into the pro game was an effortless victory over Steven Andrade, but despite the win coming in just two rounds, Vikas admits he was not too satisfied.
"I wasn't satisfied with my first win, but my coach Wali Moses was," Vikas tells Firstpost before adding, "He, in fact, said 'India is going to get the first world champ.'"
Despite his years toiling away in amateur boxing, which earned him medals at the World Championships, Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games stages, pro boxing has been a steep learning curve for the pugilist, who trains under Moses at Newark.
"The training is totally different in pros. You have to be responsible for your own training, to a large extent. You have to tell the coach about the things you need and then you work on that. This makes it different from amateur boxing wherein you're with a camp or training group. In amateurs, the national coach will tell you what you need to work on and charts your training plan," says Vikas, who has been supported by JSW Sports since 2014.
Vikas says that the size of the gloves too is smaller in pro boxing.
"In my first fight, the main difference I noticed was the gloves. They were very small compared to amateur boxing. This makes it possible for you to hit with more force. But you have to be ready to take punches as your opponent will hit you with more force as well."
His reluctance, nay his downright refusal, to indulge in trash talk makes him an outlier in pro boxing. Vikas says he'd rather focus on his ringcraft than his verbal mind games. The only trapping of the self-promotion frenzy that surrounds pro boxers which he has allowed himself is a nickname. His ring name is "The Indian Tank".
"When I turned pro, my manager David McWater asked me what the most powerful thing in India is. So I told him that the Indian Army is very strong. I want to dedicate my all fights to our brave soldiers. That's why they started calling me "The Indian tank", as in an army tank."
Ask him what he thinks of Kidd " his next opponent who, having made his pro debut in July 2016, has fought five professional bouts with one defeat and two KOs " and he offers a sharp jab.
"I watched some footage of Noah Kidd's previous fights. He's 3-1-1. He is okay. Nothing special."
Despite turning pro, the Bhiwani native has one eye trained on the Tokyo Olympics with the increased autonomy that being a professional boxer brings along with it.
"I want to compete at the Olympics without pressure," is all he offers.
But on Saturday, the only thing on his mind as he saunters into the boxing ring at the iconic Madison Square Garden will be to make sure his punches do all the talking.