Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom on Saturday, 28 December beat compatriot Nikhat Zareen 9-1 in the 51kg category by a split decision verdict in New Delhi and confirmed that she would represent India at the upcoming Olympic qualifiers in February.
While Zareen had gone past reigning national champion Jyoti Gulia, Mary Kom had eked out a comfortable victory over Ritu Grewal in their first round matches on Friday.
But what followed after was nothing less than a fierce boxing match.
Mary walked off without shaking hands with her opponent at the end of the bout which didn’t go down well with the 23-year-old.
Both the boxers had a lot to say in their respective post match-press conferences. Nikhat complained that she did not like the senior boxer’s behaviour in the ring.
“I did not like how she behaved with me. When the decision was announced, I tried to hug her but she did not hug me back. Being a junior I expect from seniors that they respect us too. But she did not hug me back, I felt hurt but that’s ok. I don’t mind,” Nikhat said.
When Mary was asked about the same, she said that Nikhat needs to respect her too if she wants to be treated with respect.
“Why should I shake hands with her? If she respects me, then only I’ll respect her. She was talking too much in front of media before the match. She was telling me that I am her idol, her icon. Is this human behaviour?”Mary Kom, Indian Boxer
The 23-year-old also said that Mary used bad words for her during the bout.
"Being a boxer I only respect her because she is my senior and she is a legend. So no doubt I always respect her. Yes, in the ring she used some bad words for me and I don’t want to react on that right now because that’s okay," Nikhat said.
The 36-year-old said that fighting outside the ring is totally unnecessary.
“Yes, we should challenge each other in the same category and then prove it inside the ring, this is the game spirit. Why fight outside the ring unnecessarily," she said.
"If you respect someone, then you should not talk against her or create any controversy. I don't like people with such nature. I ignore it,” she added.
When asked about her performance against the six-time world champion, Nikhat said that she is very happy with what she did inside the ring.
“I didn’t lack anywhere. I performed better than I did at the India Open. I lacked confidence and experience at the India Open. Today, I played all out. I am happy with my performance.”Nikhat Zareen, Indian Boxer
Mary had a different reply to this question. She said that this is not the first time she is beating Nikhat in a boxing match.
“How many times do I have to prove? This is not the first time, I have beaten (Nikhat) many times. You people have seen it with your eyes, you are an eyewitness,” she said.
“Please. I don't like controversies. In the future, till the time I play, I am only focussing on the upcoming big competitions and winning medals for my country. You prove yourself inside the ring, that's all I want,” she added.
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