Mary Kom (51kg), six-time world champion, defeated Nikhat Zareen in a split verdict trial bout to make the Indian team for next year's Olympic qualifiers in China. In a bout which had very few clear punches, Mary Kom prevailed 9-1 to make the squad, but tension was palpable inside the boxing hall owing to the bitter row triggered by Zareen's public demand for a trial. A few representatives from from Zareen's home state Telangana's boxing association cried foul once the result was declared. Boxing Federation of India (BFI) President Ajay Singh had to step in to control the situation after A P Reddy, claiming to represent the Telangana Boxing Association vociferously protested the decision.
"How will boxing grow amid this kind of politics," he later told reporters after being asked to leave the ringside by Ajay Singh and pacified by a disappointed Zareen herself.
Indian Squad for Women's Boxing Final Trial Update- 51kg.@MangteC defeated @nikhat_zareen in split decision and is selected for the Indian teamfor the Olympic Qualifiers, Asia -Oceania from Feb 3-14, 2020 in Wuhan, China.#PunchMeinHaiDum #OlympicQualifiers#boxing pic.twitter.com/AL5rthBrCR— Boxing Federation (@BFI_official) December 28, 2019
Bitterness creeped into the buildup to the bout when it was insinuated that the onus was on Mary Kom to agree for the trial even though it was a call that the federation had to take.
Mary Kom was visibly pumped up at the end of the bout in which she impressed with her composure.
In other results, two-time world silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) was upstaged by a swift-moving Sakshi Chaudhary.
Lather, also an Asian medallist, couldn't cope with Chaudhury's relentless attack. In the 60kg category, former world champion L Sarita Devi lost to national champion Simranjit Kaur.
It was once again a battle of pace as Kaur outwitted Sarita with her precise hitting and quick reflexes. Also making the squad was two-time world medallist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) after beating Lalita.