Mary Kom is an Indian Olympic boxer and a Rajya Sabha member. Mary Kom is the only woman to become World Amateur Boxing champion for a record six times, the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the first seven World Championships, and the only boxer (male or female) to win eight World Championship medals.
Kom was born in Kangathei village, Moirang Lamkhai in Churachandpur district of rural Manipur in India.She came from a poor family. Her parents, Mangte Tonpa Kom and Mangte Akham Kom were tenant farmers who worked in jhum fields. They named her Chungneijang. Kom grew up in humble surroundings, helping her parents with farm related chores, going to school and learning athletics initially and later boxing simultaneously. Kom’s father was a keen wrestler in his younger days. She was the eldest of three children – she has a younger sister and brother.
Laila Ali began boxing at the age of 18. She was first noticed years old, after having first noticed women’s boxing when watching a Christy Martin fight. She first publicized her decision to become a professional boxer in a Good Morning America interview with Diane Sawyer. When she first told her father, Muhammad Ali that she was planning to box professionally, he was unhappy about her entering such a dangerous profession.
In 2010, Kom won the gold medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship in Kazakhstan, and at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in Barbados, her fifth consecutive gold at the championship. She competed in Barbados in the 48 kg weight category, after AIBA had stopped using the 46 kg class. In the 2010 Asian Games, she competed in the 51 kg class and won a bronze medal. In 2011, she won gold in the 48 kg class at the Asian Women’s Cup in China.
On 3 October 2010, she, along with Sanjay and Harshit Jain, had the honour of bearing the Queen’s Baton in its opening ceremony run in the stadium for the 2010 Commonwealth Games of Delhi. She did not compete, however, as women’s boxing was not included in the Commonwealth Games.
On 1 October 2014, she won her first Gold Medal at the Asian games held at Incheon, South Korea by beating Kazakhstan’s Zhaina Shekerbekova in the flyweight (51 kg) summit clash.
On 8 November 2017, she clinched an unprecedented fifth gold medal (48 kg) at the ASBC Asian Confederation women’s boxing championships held at Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.
The only major international event, that she had not seen a medal before was in Commonwealth Games, as her category Light flyweight was never included in the games till 2018 Commonwealth Games where as expected she earned the gold medal gracefully in the Women’s light flyweight 48 kg on 14 April 2018.
On 24 November 2018, she created history by becoming the first woman to win 6 World Championships, achieving this feat at the 10th AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships held in New Delhi, India.
Kom, who had previously fought in the 46 and 48 kg categories, shifted to the 51 kg category after the world body decided to allow women’s boxing in only three weight categories eliminating the lower weight classes.
At the 2012 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship, Kom was competing not just for the championship itself but also for a place at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the first time women’s boxing had featured as an Olympic sport. She was defeated in the 51 kg semi-finals by Nicola Adams of the UK, but did succeed in getting a bronze medal. She was the only Indian woman to qualify for boxing event, with Laishram Sarita Devi narrowly missing a place in the 60 kg class.
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