Six-time women’s world boxing champion and Olympic medallist M C Mary Kom Saturday said she turned to this combat sport after getting inspired by watching legendary boxer Muhammad Ali’s fight on television. The pugilist from Manipur said she also drew inspiration from action movies of Jackie Chan as well as fight sequences of Bollywood films starring Akshay Kumar and others initially.
She was speaking during an interaction with the delegates at the ongoing ‘Goa Fest 2019’, an annual event organised by advertising bodies in the country. “My inspiration in the boxing field came when I saw Muhammad Ali’s fight on television…I said to myself if a man can fight, why can’t a woman,” she said.
“I also used to watch Bollywood movies like those of Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol and others,” she added.
She said when she took up boxing, people were talking about it “very negatively”. “Before marriage, is it easier for everyone. But after marriage, the responsibilities increase,” she said.
During her address before the interaction, she said, “Now I can say, we have everything. Only we don’t have champions. They are not creating new champions, that is what we are lacking.” However, she clarified that she was not blaming the government, the companies or the federation for it.
“I am blaming the athletes. They still have more to learn,” she said, adding that she was upset because athletes from the younger generation never approach her.
“They never come to me and ask about my experience. I feel very bad. After I retire whether we will have a champion or not, I don’t know,” she said.
“Come and ask me about my experience. Boxers those who are in the game, they have ego. Silver, bronze is not enough, they are still young, they will still continue for many years, future is bright,” the Olympic bronze-medallist said.
The boxer said she was putting in “100-120 per cent” efforts to win a gold in 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“This year is very important for me, because we have a qualification round in October-November. I am giving 100-120 per cent for the event,” said the 36-year-old athlete.
Mary said it was not easy to maintain the performance after continuously winning the title.
“I have been trying since the beginning. I have kept on trying till the sixth title. It is not easy to maintain the performance,” she said.
“To become a world champion once is easy. To become a one-time world champion is very easy. For other Athletes too it is easy, but repeating the performance is very hard,” said the star boxer, whose life had inspired the movie ‘Mary Kom’ starring Priyanka Chopra.
“Many of the athletes in our country or all over the world are suffering because we have every year new young athlete coming up and defeating,” she said.