Mary Kom: Hunger for boxing stronger than ever

No International Boxing Day celebrations this time as top Indian boxers are simply eager to get back into the ring following a long break due to COVID-19.

By Naveen Peter

India’s champion boxer MC Mary Kom believes that her desire to step into the ring is still as powerful as the punch she packs.

Speaking to the Olympic Channel on the sidelines of the International Boxing Day, the six-time world champion said that she was focused on being in top shape as she prepares to head to the national camp following a long hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic.

“The hunger for boxing is stronger than ever and only getting intense. Training and keeping fit under these trying times in itself is the biggest celebration for the sport,” Mary Kom, a bronze medallist at London 2012, said.

Under normal circumstances, the International Boxing Day would have been celebrated in style but this time it has been subdued given the pandemic.

But a return to training camps and the chance to get some ring time has left boxers rejoicing instead.

“I think starting our training after a long hiatus is no less than celebrating International Boxing Day,” said Amit Panghal, the top-ranked flyweight boxer in the world.

“This itself is all about immense gratitude and personally I am feeling super motivated. I am charged up to give my 100 per cent like always and to make the country proud the next time I get in the ring.

“This International Boxing Day will be remembered fondly because of the unprecedented circumstances.”

Looking ahead to better days

Circumstances have been no different for the former World Championships medallist Simrajit Kaur, who like most others, was forced to train indoors during the past few months. 

But the 25-year-old from Punjab was now looking forward to training alongside her compatriots.

“Current circumstances are challenging and it's understandable that we can't celebrate the way we would before but the sheer feeling of making a comeback to training again, being part of the camp alongside other boxers and coaches itself is the biggest celebration,” she said.

High-performance director of the Indian boxing team Santiago Nieva.

While the boxers are eager to get back into the ring, the high-performance director of the Indian team Santiago Nieva hoped that the conditions would improve since the Olympics were exactly a year away.

“We would've liked to have another type of celebration if things were normal but now the biggest celebration is that boxing is slowly coming back and sports centres are reopening. 

“I hope things improve soon and every passing day is one step closer to the next competition. Let's hope for the best,” the Swede said. 

The national camp for the Olympic-bound boxers and the Olympic hopefuls is expected to start at full swing in the coming weeks. Boxers will join in batches depending on when their quarantine periods end.