Six-time World Champion and 2012 Olympic medalist Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom announced her retirement from boxing on Wednesday. Mary Kom, 41, decided to hang up her boxing gloves due to the age restrictions set by the International Boxing Association (IBA), which allows male and female boxers to compete in elite-level competitions only until the age of 40.
Expressing her desire to continue competing at the elite level, Mary stated, “I have the hunger still but unfortunately because of the age limit it is over I cannot compete in any competition. I want to play more but I am being forced to quit (due to the age limit). I have to retire. I have achieved everything in my life.”
Mary Kom holds a remarkable legacy in the sport, being the first female boxer in history to secure six world titles. Her illustrious career includes notable milestones such as being the first female boxer from India to claim a gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games and winning a bronze medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Her journey in boxing began at the age of 18 when she made her mark on the world stage at the inaugural world meet in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Despite falling short in the final of the 48kg category, her exceptional talent and near-flawless boxing style left a lasting impression on spectators.
Over the years, Mary Kom’s dominance in the sport became evident as she continuously raised the bar of excellence. She became the first Indian to clinch a gold medal at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, triumphing in 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2010 editions. Following her victory in 2008, she took a break from boxing after giving birth to twins.
After her remarkable performance in the 2012 Olympics, where she won a bronze medal, Mary Kom once again took a hiatus following the birth of her third child. However, she made a triumphant return to the ring, securing her sixth world title at the 2018 World Championships held in Delhi. Her victory over Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota showcased her unwavering determination and skill, solidifying her status as one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Mary Kom’s achievements extend beyond her world titles, as she holds the record for the most world medals by any male or female boxer, with a total of eight. Her retirement marks the end of an era in boxing, leaving behind a legacy that will inspire generations to come.