India’s newly-appointed men’s boxing head coach Narender Rana would like his wards to take a step back inside the ring, improve their self-belief and preferably stay off social media during competitions as he spelled out his vision on how to take the sport forward after an insipid Olympic campaign.

The 49-year-old, who returned to the country on Monday after his first outing as head coach during the world championships in Belgrade, revealed that he took away bronze-winner Akash Kumar’s (54kg) phone to keep him focussed ahead of the semifinals. Akash was India’s lone medal winner at the event.

“I took his phone away after the quarterfinals because he was bombarded with calls and messages. Itni distraction mein rest kahan se hota, recovery kab hoti? I had to do it,” Rana told PTI in an interview.

“Both his parents are no more and his uncle called me after being unable to reach him. I told him what I had done and even offered to let the boy talk to him. But his uncle said ‘aapne kuch soch ke hi kiya hoga, bas usko hamari shubhkamnaayen de dena’,” he recalled.

The 21-year-old Akash had lost his mother in September just before the national championships, where he went on to clinch…

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