Glad to Face Mary Kom, Will Make Sure it’s Memorable: Nikhat

Finally, Nikhat will face Mary Kom to decide who will represent India in the 51kg category at Olympic qualifiers.

3 min read

Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen will clash in the 51kg category finals of the women's boxing trials for next year's Olympic Qualifiers after claiming unanimous victories in their respective first-round bouts in New Delhi on Friday.

Former junior world champion Zareen defeated reigning national champion Jyoti Gulia, while multiple-time Asian champion Mary Kom beat Ritu Grewal. The two-day competition will end on Saturday after the finals.

Zareen, Mary Kom’s next opponent, said she waited long enough for a fair chance against Mary and she has vowed to make it a memorable encounter.

"I am just waiting for tomorrow's bout. I am eagerly looking forward to that bout. I will give my 100 per cent,” Zareen said about the much-awaited contest.

“There is no pressure on me right now because I wanted the fight to happen for a long time and I am excited. I just want to give my best.”
Nikhat Zareen

"I was always looking forward to this bout. I am well prepared for tomorrow. I will make sure that it's a clean bout tomorrow without any clinching and wrestling. I will play fairly and clean and beautiful boxing," she added.

“Whatever the decision may be, doesn’t matter. At last I got an opportunity to face her (Mary Kom) and I will make sure that it turns out to be a memorable bout.”
Nikhat Zareen

Despite registering a unanimous win, the Performance Director of Indian women's boxing, Raffaele Bergamasco was not satisfied with Mary Kom's performance.

“She (Mary Kom) won but she was nowhere near to her best today. I didn’t like her bout. She has to improve a lot,” he said without elaborating further.
Raffaele Bergamasco, Performance Director, Indian women’s boxing

Contrary to Bergamasco's observation, Zareen said Mary was the clear winner on Friday against Ritu in the intense first round of the 51 kg qualifiers.

“I watched Mary di’s bout, she had clear scoring. Her bout today was more involved in clinching and wrestling but scoring wise she had an upperhand.”
Nikhat Zareen

After the Women's Boxing World Championships in November, Nikhat had demanded a trial to decide who between her and Mary Kom would go for the Olympic qualifiers in China.

This was after BFI President Ajay Singh triggered the storm by announcing at a felicitation ceremony that Mary Kom would be selected for the Olympic qualifiers without any trial due to her consistent international performances.

While Mary always stated that she would abide by whatever selection policy the BFI has, she had indicated an aversion to a trial. Mary even when to the extent of saying,” Who is she (Nikhat Zareen), I don’t know her?”

Speaking about Mary Kom’s comment, Nikhat said she had nothing to say about Mary’s opinion.

“That is her (Mary Kom) opinion. I don’t want to say anything about it. I was only waiting for the bout and when I will get a fair chance to face her. Since it is happening tomorrow, I have nothing else to say.”
Nikhat Zareen

Earlier, former junior world champion Nikhat was going to take on Mary Kom in the recently concluded Big Bout League. But the London Olympics bronze medallist pulled out in the last hour due to a back injury. Mary Kom was the captain of the Punjab Panthers franchise while Nikhat Zareen was leading the North East Rhinos.

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