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In Depth: MC Mary Kom | The Greatest Amateur Boxer of all time

  • Mary Kom was knocked out of Tokyo Olympics 2020 on Thursday 
  • Mary Kom is a 6-time World Champion in Amateur Boxing 

A split decision on Thursday saw tears rolling down MC Mary Kom's face but despite that, the champion boxer kept on smiling. A shock loss in what could be her last Olympic appearance broke the heart of a billion-plus Indians as they celebrated the legendary boxer and her stellar career. 

Born in 1982 in a small village in Manipur, Mary is the eldest of three children as the parents struggled hard in poverty. Her father was keen to send Mary to a school where she was smitten by athletics at a young age. That infatuation slowly transformed into love for Boxing.

Dingko Singh a fellow Manipuri who passed away recently was the reason behind Mary's switch to boxing. The 1998 Asian Games Gold Medallist inspired Mary to wear the gloves and she never looked back.

She was the smallest in her lot at training but packed a mean punch and slowly rose through the ranks and became a state champion in no time. 

Climbing her way through the ranks, Mary knew the only thing that would take her to the top would be hard work. Hard work can also be Mary Kom's middle name as she put in the hard yards in both innings of her carrier.

In 2001, while representing India in her first World Championship, Mary lost in the final and had to settle for silver. She fought back hard in 2002 and won the first of six World Championship golds of her career.

The star named MC Mary Kom then, shone so bright that it's aura eclipsed all women amateur boxers in the history of the sport. Eight medals, including six World Championship gold medals, are present in Mary Kom's trophy cabinet. She is the only boxer in the history of the sport with a medal haul as rich as this. She's also the only female boxer to have won a medal in each of her first seven World Championships. To add to an already glittering trophy cabinet, Mary had two medals, including a Gold, at the Asian Games, one Commonwealth Games gold, a total of 7 medals including 5 golds from the Asian Boxing Championship.

With 4 children and handling the responsibility of being a Member of Parliament, Mary Kom wasn't done yet. In 2012 at the Summer Olympics in London, Mary was forced to settle for a bronze. The Manipuri pugilist had only one desire - to win the only medal missing from her kitty. She failed in Rio 2016 and once again in Tokyo 2020. But those who know the game unanimously agree that the two losses, coming 5 years apart, cannot negatively impact her legacy. Across the world, when it comes to Boxing one might hear the names Mohammad Ali, Mike Tyson or even Rocky Balboa but in India, boxing means Mary Kom.

 

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