After much drama and a long-drawn-out saga, Nikhat Zareen and Mary Kom will finally face-off in an epic bout, with the winner proceeding to the Olympic 2020 Qualifiers that will be held in Wuhan, China in February. The duo won their respective first-round encounters on Day 1 of the women's boxing trials in New Delhi and will face each other in the finals on Saturday. They will compete in the 51kg weight category.
Zareen, a former junior world champion, got the better of current national champion Jyoti Gulia, while multiple-time world champion and Olympian bronze medallist Mary Kom defeated Ritu Grewal to proceed to the summit clash.
Zareen had been involved in a major battle with the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) ever since its president Ajay Singh stated that Mary Kom would be India's entry in the Qualifiers in the 51kg category without any trials due to her consistent international showings.
Earlier, the federation had maintained that only gold and silver medallists at the World Championships would get a direct entry to the Qualifiers. Mary Kom won a bronze at the World Championships this year, but the flip-flop forced Zareen to shoot out an angry letter to the Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju as she asked for a fair chance to play in the Olympics.
Mary Kom, on her part, had maintained that she would follow the policy that would be laid down by the BFI.
Recapping the results on Day 1
51kg - Nikhat Zareen defeated Jyoti 10-0
51kg - Mary Kom defeated Ritu Grewal 10-0
57kg - Sakshi Chaudhary defeated Manisha 7-3
60kg - Simranjit Kaur defeated Pavitra 10-0
75kg - Pooja Rani defeated Indraja 10-0
69kg - Lalita defeated Meena Rani 9-1
57kg - Sonia Chahal defeated Sonia Lather 7-3
60kg - Sarita Devi defeated Shashi Chopra 9-1
69kg - Lovlina Borgohain defeated Anjali 10-0
75kg - Nupur defeated Saweeta 9-1
The two-day boxing trials for the men's Olympic Qualifiers will be held in Karnataka from Sunday.