Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom has pulled out of a mouthwatering showdown with Nikhat Zareen in the Big Bout Indian Boxing League (IBL) citing a back injury. Mary Kom, who represents Punjab Panthers in the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) sanctioned league, reportedly has been unwell for some time now.

Panthers owner Dinesh Pandey has confirmed the news saying they would be happy if she gets fully fit for semi-final and final rather than risking her in a league tie. “Mary Kom has a back issue, may be some swelling or spasm there,”Pandey told The Times of India. “The back injury has been troubling her for some time, so the doctors told her to rest properly. She is a legend and a key player of our franchise, so we didn’t want to take any chances. We would rather love to have her back for the semifinal and final if the team reaches that stage. She didn’t take the ring in her last two matches because of her back problem. Everyone was waiting for that big bout against Nikhat but Mary Kom’s well-being is our utmost priority.”

As per the daily, Mary Kom’s personal coach Chhote Lal Yadav has told the league owners that risking the boxer for a clash that doesn’t count for selection trial for Olympic qualifiers makes no sense. Additionally, the clash would attract media and put unnecessary pressure on the boxers.

The BFI trials are to be held later this month on December 27 and 28 in the national capital.