Iconic Indian boxer MC Mary Kom will be part of the NCR Punjab Royals team during the Big Bout League while her fierce rival Nikhat Zareen will compete for Odisha Warriors, the organisers announced on Tuesday. All six teams featuring in the League, starting December 2, will have five men and two women boxers each. Each team can have three foreign players in their ranks. World Championship silver medallist Amit Panghal will compete for Adani Gujarat while Pinki Rani will be part of the Bengaluru side. Rio Olympics bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia was picked by Bombay Bullets in the players' draft held on Tuesday.
Earlier, Nikhat Zareen had challenged the six-time world champion Mary Kom in the Olympics selection trial for representing India in the 51kg category at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 23-year-old is the winner of the gold medal in 16th Senior Woman National Boxing (2015). Mary Kom had replied by saying that she doesn’t know who Nikhat Zareen is but will definitely fight Zareen if BFI arranges the fight.
Nicknamed 'Magnificent Mary', MC Mary Kom has won many laurels for India. In fact, she is till date the only woman to become World Amateur Boxing champion for a record six times and also the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the first seven World Championships, and the only boxer (male or female) to win eight World Championship medals. Mary had clinched a bronze in the 51kg category at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Apart from her Olympic medal win, the star boxer has also succeeded in winning a gold medal in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and a gold each in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the AIBA Women's World Championships respectively. Mary Kom could not qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics and is currently training hard to seal her spot in the 2020 Rio Olympics with an aim of finishing on top of the podium.