Every match is important for me: Mary Kom

ANI | Updated: Jan 28, 2018 22:21 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan 28 (ANI): Five-time world boxing champion M.C Mary Kom on Sunday said that she considered every match as important and want to be in the ring for as long as she wants.

Mary Kom told ANI, "Every match is very important for me. I am neither taking anything lightly nor being overconfident. I want to be in the ring for as long as I want. People may say whatever they feel like. I want to win medals for the nation."

The boxer lauded the Boxing Federation of India's (BFI) idea of a boxing competition, on the lines of the popular Indian Premier League (IPL) stating that it would be a good platform for the young boxers to express themselves.

"It is a good initiative taken by the authorities (BFI). India Open offers a good platform for the young boxers to express themselves and do well. I am confident that they will perform better and better in the future," Mary Kom said.

Mary Kom acknowledged that boxing was becoming popular in India and that the young players were doing well. She added that the BFI should take steps in the future to nurture such talent.

"Boxing is becoming popular here. I am happy that the young players are doing well. They (BFI) should be taking very important steps in the future. They (BFI) should take very important steps for the future. It will help us especially in Asian Games, Olympics and Commonwealth Games," added Mary Kom.

On being asked about the pressure of facing opponents away from her home state, Manipur, Mary Kom said that no matter wherever the tournament was happening, there is pressure and it had to be handled very well.

"I don't care wherever the tournament was happening, whether it is home or away, the pressure will always remain. You have to handle it," said the five-time world boxing champion.

"I focus on training to keep myself fit and I focus on improving and winning any game. That is my ultimate goal," added Mary Kom.

The inaugural India Open boxing tournament began on Sunday, with as many as 223 boxers from 22 different countries, eyeing the $100,000 prize money, which is the highest ever amount to be offered in the history of the sport.

India will aim to make its presence felt, fielding close to 80 boxers, made up of four teams in the men's and five in the women's categories.

India's challenge in the women's event will be led by none other than five-time world champion Mary Kom.

Sarita Devi, Sonia Lather, Shashi Chopra and Pooja Rani will be the other women boxers who will be aiming for the gold.

Around 40 Indian men will also be in the fray, led by Shiva Thapa in the 60-kg class.

Devendro Singh, Sachin Siwach, Manoj Kumar, Gaurav Solanki and Mohammad Hussamuddin are the other boxers to watch for. (ANI)