In a poignant moment for the world of boxing, the illustrious career of Indian boxing legend Mary Kom has officially come to an end. The six-time World Champion and 2012 Olympic medalist, Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom, bid farewell to the ring, citing the International Boxing Association’s (IBA) age restriction as the decisive factor.
At 41, Mary Kom made the announcement during a special event, expressing her unwavering desire to continue competing at the elite level. However, the IBA’s stringent rule, allowing male and female boxers to participate in elite-level competition only until the age of 40, forced her into retirement.
“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,” shared Mary Kom during the emotional revelation.
The trailblazing pugilist etched her name in history as the first female boxer to secure six world titles. Her achievements include being the inaugural female boxer from India to claim a gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games, further solidifying her status as an icon in the sport.
Mary Kom’s journey began at the age of 18 when she introduced herself to the world at the inaugural world meet in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Despite falling short in the final of the 48kg category, her near-flawless boxing style left an indelible mark, foreshadowing the success that would follow.
The seasoned boxer went on to create history by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. Her dominance extended to multiple World Championships titles in 2005, 2006, 2008, and the 2010 editions. After securing the 2008 title, Mary took a break following the birth of her twins.
Following her triumphant return after the 2012 Olympic Games, where she won a bronze medal, Mary Kom once again took a hiatus after welcoming her third child. However, she reclaimed her position at the pinnacle during the 2018 World Championships held in Delhi, securing her sixth world title with a decisive 5-0 win over Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota.
A year later, Mary Kom added to her remarkable legacy by clinching her eighth world medal, a record unmatched by any male or female boxer. As the curtains close on her storied career, Mary Kom leaves an enduring legacy, inspiring generations of aspiring boxers with her tenacity, skill, and unyielding spirit in the ring.