Nikhat Zareen on Mary Kom: Can't wait to meet her

Updated: Dec 28, 2019, 11:51 IST | PTI | New Delhi

Nikhat Zareen is super excited to face MC Mary Kom in Saturday's 51kg category final of the women's boxing trials for next year's Olympic qualifiers.

MC Mary Kom celebrates her win over Ritu Grewal during the trial for Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi. Pic/PTI
MC Mary Kom celebrates her win over Ritu Grewal during the trial for Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi. Pic/PTI

New Delhi: 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 here on Friday.

Former junior world champion Zareen defeated reigning national champion Jyoti Gulia, while multiple-time Asian champion Mary Kom got the better of Ritu Grewal. The two-day competition will end on Saturday after the finals. Zareen had kicked up a storm a few weeks ago by demanding a trial against the iconic Mary Kom after the Boxing Federation of India's flip-flop on the selection policy for the Olympic Qualifiers. Mary Kom had maintained that she would abide by the selection policy laid down by the BFI, which ultimately decided to have trials.

Nikhat Zaree
Nikhat Zareen

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. An irate Zareen then demanded a "fair chance" against the celebrated Manipuri, who is also a Rajya Sabha member.

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.

Zareen, Mary Kom's next opponent, said she just can't wait to take the ring on Saturday. "I am just waiting for tomorrow's bout. I am eagerly looking forward to that bout. I will give my 100 per cent. There is no pressure on me right on because I wanted the fight to happen for a long time and I am excited," Zareen said about the much-awaited contest.

"I just want to give my best. 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. "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.

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