After months of war outside the ring, Telengana's Nikhat Zareen locked horns with six-time World Champion Mary Kom inside the ring as they both contended to seal a spot in the upcoming Olympics Qualifiers. The match, on Saturday, ended with Mary Kom defeating Nikhat Zareen 9-1, thereby, securing a spot in India's boxing team in the qualifiers set to be held in China in 2020. However, soon after the results were declared, the Telengana Boxing Association cried foul play and favouritism as Zareen lost the match.
23-year-old Nikhat Zareen after her defeat against Mary Kom said, "I have given my best and won hearts though I have not won. It could have gone either way also. I am happy with my performance." Furthermore, the war of words continued as Zareen slammed Kom, saying that she did not like the senior's behaviour. Zareen alleged that she was going to hug Mary Kom but the veteran boxer refused.
"Being a junior I expect good behaviour from seniors. I was going to hug her, but she refused, I didn't like her behaviour."
She also said her focus is to play well on international and that 9-1 scoreline was not expected as she had performed even better than she did in India open. "She also used a bad word for me (after the bout) but it's ok," she added.
Six-time world champion M C Mary Kom (51kg) defeated Nikhat Zareen in a split verdict trial bout to make the Indian team for next year's Olympic qualifiers in China. In a bout which had very few clear punches, Mary Kom prevailed 9-1 to make the squad. In other results, two-time world silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) was upstaged by a swift-moving Sakshi Chaudhary.
Lather, also an Asian medallist, couldn't cope with Chaudhury's relentless attack. In the 60kg category, former world champion L Sarita Devi lost to national champion Simranjit Kaur. It was once again a battle of pace as Kaur outwitted Sarita with her precise hitting and quick reflexes.