Azize Nimani stunned the boxing world in the 2016 World Championships when she eliminated MC Mary Kom and denied her a spot in Rio Olympics. (Image credit: Twitter)
In 2016, MC Mary Kom was all set to seal her spot in the Olympics. In the World Boxing Championships in Astana, she was up against Germany’s Azize Nimani and was the odds-on favourite to reach the next round and make her path to Rio easier. However, in a shocking result, Nimani defeated Mary Kom 2-0 in the second round to shatter her dream of representing India in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Nimani, who is part of the German squad for the 2018 Women’s World Boxing Championship which will be held in Delhi, highlighted how the win made her belong in the top levels of boxing. “This was one of the most important fights of my life. Mary is a legend in woman's boxing and if you can beat her, you can beat anyone. The win meant a lot to me because it showed that I can be on top. It gave me the belief that anyone can be beaten,” Nimani said in an interaction with News Nation.
From Kosovo to Germany
Nimani’s personality is a fascinating one. The mixture of Albanian, Kosovar and German makes her a very diverse personality and she is proud of it. To show who she really she is, Nimani flaunts the tattoo of the Albanian eagle on her left bicep.
“That is the Albanian flag (the tatoo on my arm). The eagle is a symbol. It is a part of me and I do not want to hide it. I am proud that I am boxing for Germany but I am also proud that I have Albanian blood. I basically represent Europe,” Nimani responds with a warm-hearted laugh.
The Kosovo war was an armed conflict that started in 1998 and lasted till 1999, forcing many people to flee the country. Nimani and her family moved to Germany when she was seven years of age. When asked whether she had some scars of the war, she responded, “I moved to Germany when I was seven years of age. I grew up in Germany so it was not so difficult to adjust. For my brothers and sisters, it was a little bit more difficult. Culturally, they have more Kosovo roots in them compared to me. If you want to be a part of some culture, you will be, doesn't matter where you come from.”
Germany – A rainbow nation
During the European migrant crisis in 2016, Germany was hailed for providing asylum to plenty of migrants. The country’s integrating culture has made Nimani very comfortable.
“It wasn't as difficult for me to integrate myself in German culture. Nine years in the German national team and I was not treated badly even once because I am not 100 percent German. I can't talk for someone else but I can talk for myself,” Nimani said.
No problem with pollution
New Delhi is currently reeling under severe air pollution. However, Nimani is not too concerned about the current conditions. Such is her dedication that before the interaction, the 26-year-old undertook a training and light exercise session outside the hotel. When asked whether pollution was a problem, Nimani replied, “In my honest opinion, Delhi can be a little cleaner. The pollution is creating a problem. That is why we came one week before to acclimatize.”
After stunning Mary Kom in the last World Championships, Nimani will be aiming to do a repeat, this time in the five-time World Champion’s own den.