Mary Kom pulls out of Nikhat Zareen bout with back problem
Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom has had to pull out of her eagerly awaited showdown with fellow 51kg hopeful Nikhat Zareen.
The pair were due to meet in the inaugural Big Bout League, but the six-time world champion has had to withdraw at the last minute due to a swelling on her back.
However, the six-time world champion still wants to play a further part in the competition.
Kom is captain of the Punjab Panthers franchise, with Zareen representing the North East Rhinos.
Mary Kom’s injury
Kom informed her franchise about her withdrawal early on Tuesday, the morning of the clash, Punjab Royals owner Dinesh Pandey revealed.
“Mary Kom has a back issue, may be some swelling or spasm there. 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 in 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,” said Pandey to the TOI.
"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,” Pandey added.
Kom’s personal coach
It was also reported that it was Chhote Lal Yadav, Mary Kom’s personal coach, who had advised her against turning up for the bout, given there was not much at stake.
The pair are due to face off in a selection trial for next year's Olympic qualifiers at the end of the month in New Delhi.
The winner of their bout on the 27th December will then move forward to represent India at the Asian/Oceania Olympic qualifier in Wuhan, China next February.