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Boxing: Indian boxing legend Mary Kom to quit after Rio 2016
by Michael O'Neill
March 3, 2015

(MAR 3) The ‘Times of India’, India’s most respected media organisation today reports that London 2012 Olympic medallist M C Mary Kom on Monday announced that she has decided to quit boxing after the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as ‘her body would not be able to cope with the rigors of the sport any further’.

The 32-year-old had been hinting for some time now that she may ‘hang up glove’ but on Monday she made it clear that for family reasons the Rio Games next year will be the last time we see her in action for her country.

"I have decided that I will quit after 2016 Olympics. Rio Games will be my last competitive event and I will not continue after that," she said at the launch of a social media campaign, ‘Box Out’ for Dida Sportswear.

"My third child is two years old and I think it's enough for me. Who would have faced the rigours of competitive boxing after having three children? I want to bring happiness to the people of this country by winning a gold in Rio. I want to win a gold there and so I thought of continuing till 2016 Games,” she admitted.

What now for MC Mary Kom? She already has a boxing academy in Imphal, which is due to be officially opened shortly by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"I have planned out what to do after Rio Olympics. I will give my full time to my academy. I want to produce more Mary Koms, more world champions.

I will also be available to support any social cause," she said at the launch of 'Boxout', a digital campaign against social evils

"Prime Minister told me to inform him before the inauguration of my academy. The academy is in the final phase of completion and I am expecting the PM to inaugurate it," she went on.

She went on to express her personal disappointment at the perceived infighting in the Indian boxing community at this time, claiming that it was only the boxers who were suffering most.

Asked what the future of Indian boxing is, she said, "What do I say? There is infighting in the federation. Some would say to do this and others will say to do that. The boxers are confused and they don't know what to do. Unless there is unity, we will not get anything. Boxers are the only sufferers."

Mary Kom said she is yet to start "proper training" but would start doing that once her boxing academy is inaugurated.

"I am yet to start proper training. I am doing whatever is required to maintain fitness. I have to make myself to a level of fitness before starting proper training which I think will begin next month."

"Asian Championship and World Championship are coming up and they will act as qualifiers for the Rio Olympics. So, I have to do well in these tournaments to qualify for the Rio Olympics," she said.

Asked if she was thinking of setting up boxing academies in other states of the country, Mary Kom told the T.O.I, "It is very difficult to set up an academy. It is very expensive. It is even more expensive to maintain it. Let me first inaugurate my academy in Manipur.

"I am not setting up the academy in Manipur to earn money. I am helping poor youngsters who cannot afford to take up boxing. If somebody can help me, I can open boxing academies in other states. Or I can help other people to open academies," said Mary Kom. Her boxing hero she said was legendary professional heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali.

Among other objectives of the campaign was to 'box out' the evils in the society like sexual abuse, eve teasing, acid attacks, corruption, among others.

Mary Kom unveiled the blogging page of 'Box Out' campaign - (www.didasportswear.com/boxout) by registering herself as the first member of it.

"Work on your fitness for at least 40 minutes in a day so as to stay fit and fight against the evils like eve teasing, sexual abuse etc," she said while giving tips of self-defence to the students.

"I have donned my gloves this time for the cause of humanity to box out the evils plaguing the society. I appreciate the 'Box Out' campaign initiated by Dida Sportswear and I am sure our campaign will help us in creating awareness in the society to fight against these evils," said Mary Kom who is also the brand ambassador of Dida Sportswear.

A legendary figure in the world of AIBA boxing, Mary Kom shares with Ireland’s Katie Taylor the distinction of being the only boxers to have won an AIBA Elite world championships title on five occasions.

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