Mary Kom vs Nikhat Zareen — after ages of complaints, public outbursts and tweets the fight finally happened and it was the six-time World Champion who went on to have the last laugh.
In a year-ending headliner at the IG Stadium on Saturday, with more than a berth in February’s Olympic qualifiers at stake, it was the experienced Mary who showed the composure and tenacity, that is expected of her, to outdo her young challenger.
Mary started dominating from the first round itself and then in the second, put on a grand show with lots of clean punches and jabs. In the end, she beat Nikhat by SD 9-1 in the 51kg category to make it to the Olympic qualifiers next year.
Don't think score should have been 9-1: Nikhat
The young boxer was visibly disappointed after her loss and believed that it was a much closer contest than the score depicted.
"I didn't lack anywhere. I performed better than I did at the India Open. Today, I played all out. I don't agree. It was a close bout and could have gone either way so I don't think the score should have been 9-1," Nikhat said after the bout had finished.
When the match ended, there was a huge controversy as Mary Kom refused to shake hands with Nikhat. The Hyderabadi boxer later went on to claim that the the senior pro had used foul language against her during their bout.
"I did not like how she behaved with me. When the decision was announced, I tried to hug her but she did not hug me back. Being a junior I expect from seniors that they respect us too. But she did not hug me back, I felt hurt but that's ok. I don't mind.
"In the ring she used some bad words for me. I don't want to react on that right now," Nikhat told reporters.
Mary, on her part, responded in the only way she could. "Why should I shake hands with her? If she wants others to respect her then she should first respect others. I don't like people with such nature. Just prove your point inside the ring, not outside," she said after the bout.