With the Big Bout League starting on December 2, the celebrated Mary Kom has assured herself of a place in the NCR Punjab Royals team. Her rival Nikhat Zareen, on the other hand, will compete for Odisha Warriors, the organisers announced on Tuesday. The competition will witness six teams featuring in the League, starting December 2, having five men and two women boxers divided in each. Meanwhile, each team are allowed to assign three foreign players in its ranks. Another great boxer Pinki Rani will be part of the Bengaluru side. In another happy news, Rio Olympics bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia was picked by Bombay Bullets in the players’ draft held on Tuesday.

Key Takeaways:

  • Indian Boxing league to be held from December 2-21. It will be a warm-up competition for both Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen who will face off each other in a trial after the league for an entry into the Olympics Qualifiers. 
  • In the Big Bout League starting on December 2, Kom will fight for the NCR Punjab Royals team. And her rival Zareen will compete for Odisha Warriors
  • The BFI officials decided on a trial between the two which would decide India’s representation in the 51kg category for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers.
  • The Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers are scheduled to be held in Wuhan from 3-14 February 2020. 

Nikhat Zareen vs Mary Kom

In the midst of a growing cold war between two of the best boxers from the fraternity, it was earlier announced that six-time women’s world boxing champion Kom and youngster Zareen will face off each other in the trial after the Indian Boxing League (IBL), which is expected to be a warm up competition before the big fight. The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has finally taken the decision that the winner of this trial will represent India in the 51kg category for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers next year. “We have stuck to our rules. There won’t be any going back on it and everything is now clear, no confusion at all. The trial will preferably happen after the Indian Boxing League (IBL), which is scheduled from December 2 to 21, 2019,” a source told TOI.

23-year-old Nikhat Zareen will face off Mary Kom, 36, in the 51kg category, in fight for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Qualifiers birth, in last week of December.

This bout will mark the end of a month-long controversy since Nikhat, who competes in the 51kg category same as Mary Kom, had written to the BFI demanding an explanation for their decision of not allowing her a trial for entry into the Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers.

‘Magnificent’ records

A sitting member of the Rajya Sabha, Olympic bronze medallist Kom is 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. ‘Magnificent’ Mary is also an Asian Games (2014) gold medallist, a Commonwealth Games (2018) gold medallist.

Retirement plans

Mary Kom has recently announced her retirement plans after the Tokyo Olympics, as she will be retiring after winning the elusive gold medal missing from her trophy shelf. “After 2020, I want to retire. So my main mission is to get gold for India. I really really want to win (gold),” legendary boxer said at an event, India Today reported.

“I always try my best to give a medal to the country and if possible a gold. I will be starting my preparation for the Olympic qualifiers and the World Championship. I want to win a gold medal this time,” she added.

READ:What Makes Mary Kom’s Life So Inspirational, Every Single Day

“I have fought hardships outside and inside the ring for so long. Nobody can keep doing it forever. There are so many bright and upcoming youngsters and I hope and pray that we find a new Mary Kom soon.”

Earlier this year, she was seen gracing the cover of fashion magazine Femina.

In the 2012 Olympics, she became India’s first woman boxer to clinch an Olympic medal. Now, the 36-year-old is looking forward to her 2020 Olympic dream, and her punches are becoming stronger than ever.

Read More Stories By Ria Das

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.