Six-time World Champions Mary Kom’s back injury may have forced her out of the Indian Boxing League clash against Nikhat Zareen on Tuesday, but it sure hasn’t hampered the prospects of the match taking place at all as the two pugilists are set to face each other during the 51-kg trials for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 Qualifiers.
Mary, captain of the Punjab Panthers was to take on Zareen, who leads the North East Rhinos, but was ruled out due to a back injury which she’s been dealing with quite some time now. However, with the BFI trials scheduled to be held on December 27 and 28 in New Delhi, Zareen has her eyes on it.
“Even I got to know last night itself that she is not fighting. I was ready. It was a good opportunity for me. Now I will face her in the trials only. If she is not willing to play, I can’t force her. It’s her choice. My bad that now she is not playing. Now I have to focus on the trials only,” Zareen told IANS.
Mary and Zareen have been involved in a long-standing selection row over a spot in the Olympic qualifiers after BFI had said announced that the six-time World Champion will be exempted from trials. Former junior world champion Zareen had demanded a trial against the 36-year old boxer who has maintained that she would go by any decision taken by the Boxing Federation of India.
Despite the much-awaited duel between the two boxers getting postponed, Zareen hasn’t allowed the build-up to affect her preparations.
“I am prepared. I was ready to face her in this league. I have my own strategy which I was supposed to play today, I think I have to use it in trials. That’s fine. My preparation is going well. I am ready. We have only 10 days left for the trials. I will keep myself physically and mentally fit. I have to give my best,” she said.