Hyderabad: It was grudge bout that every boxing fan in the country looked forward to. At stake was a ticket to Olympics and in contention were a seasoned campaigner, who has been there and done that, and a young pretender from Telangana State, who challenged her senior for a one-on-one 51kg fight to determine who had the wherewithal.
For all the hype it generated and the boastful claims of the challenger, the fight ended as a damp-squib. Having the last laugh was the country’s most decorated woman boxer and multiple-time world champion, Mary Kom. In an anti-climax finish to the fight for the lone 2020 Olympics berth, Mary Kom outpunched Nizamabad Brand Ambassador Nikhat Zareen 9-1 and will now represent India in the 51kgs category.
However, in a somewhat unsporting gesture, the conqueror refused to shake hands with Nikhat Zareen.
It may be recalled that in October, Nikhat Zareen had written a letter to Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, asking for equal opportunities and a chance to prove her talent at the biggest stage. She further asked for a trial against Mary Kom as the veteran was earlier selected without a trial.
Speaking to ANI after the bout on not shaking hands with Nikhat Zareen, Mary Kom said: “Why should I shake hands with her? If she want others to respect her then she should first respect others. I don’t like people with such nature. Just prove your point inside the ring, not outside.”
Nikhat Zareen then stated that she was disappointed by Mary Kom’s behaviour and accused her of using ‘Foul language’ inside the ring.