India's Tokyo-bound pugilist Mary Kom is a living legend when it comes to women's boxing. The 38-year-old and mother of four is a six-time world champion and also has an Olympic bronze medal to her name.
In all likelihood, her sojourn in Tokyo is going to be her last Olympics. Mary Kom qualified for the quadrennial extravaganza after reaching the semi-finals of the 2020 Asia & Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament in Jordan in the women's 51kg category.
Mary Kom has inspired a generation of pugilists to take up the sport. But with age wearing her down, let's take a look at five potential names who can step up to be her predecessor.
#5 Nikhat Zareen
Nikhat Zareen burst onto the scene in 2011 when she clinched the gold medal at the Junior World Championships in 2011 in Antalya. Like Mary Kom, she also fights in the flyweight category.
Nikhat squared off against her childhood hero for a spot in the Olympic boxing qualifiers. Although the 25-year-old lost the bout, she remains India's top candidate in the women's flyweight division after Mary Kom.
#4 Manisha Moun
Manisha made a big splash on the international circuit in 2018 when she beat the defending champion Dina Zholaman in the Women's World Boxing Championships. However, she stumbled in the quarter-finals in the bantamweight category.
She won a bronze medal in the 2019 Asian Boxing Championships after losing in the semi-finals. Later that year, she switched to the featherweight category.
#3 Manju Rani
Manju Rani initially played Kabaddi as a child but changed her game to boxing after being inspired by Mary Kom's performance at the 2012 London Olympics. Competing in the light flyweight division, she clinched a silver medal at the 2019 AIBA Women's Boxing Championships.
She was the lone Indian in the finals after three pugilists lost their bouts in the semi-finals. With age on her side, Manju Rani has a long way to go.
#2 Jamuna Boro
Hailing from Assam, Jamuna was a gifted Wushu player in her childhood. But she changed her game to boxing after SAI coaches spotted her talent.
She made big strides early on, and then went on to win the gold medal in the 2019 Indian Boxing Open in front of her home crowd. Later in the year, she finished as a bronze medallist in the bantamweight category at the Women's World Boxing Championships.
#1 Lovlina Borgohain
Another pugilist from Assam to make it to our list, Lovlina initially picked the sport of kickboxing as a child before transitioning into only boxing. She kickstarted her senior career with a bronze medal at the 2017 Asian Championships in the welterweight category.
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She continued her hot streak of form by winning consecutive bronze medals in the 2018 and 2019 edition of the Women's World Boxing Championships. Unlike other names on the list, Lovlina will be participating in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. It remains to be seen if she can win a medal for India.