For a smashing start to 2019, take a cue from Mary Kom six ‘magnificent' life lessons

Shreya Mukherjee
Celebrated boxer and Padma Bhushan awardee, Mary Kom talks about the hurdles she faced and how each of them helped her grow in his sport and made her stronger.

New year, new lessons and resolutions, too. How about beginning 2019 with a punch? And who better than MC Mary Kom to help you sharpen your moves. In an exclusive chat, Mary opens up about the sweat and courage that went into becoming ‘magnificent’. Her recent winning bout against Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota made her the only woman pugilist to win six World Championships. And the feisty lady craves for more. Here are our top takeaways from the winner who never stops trying, come rain or shine.

Read| From ‘no skills’ to master planner, Mary Kom looks back at incredible world domination


Mary’s boxing aspiration was achieved only after she had to put in “double, triple effort” in convincing people around her through her performances. “Being a girl, it was a struggle to become a boxer. My friends, neighbours, relatives were against my dream. Even my father didn’t want me to take up boxing… But I always believed I’ll prove all of them wrong someday,” she smiles. She goes on to add that “We all can always be ready to accept challenges, success will follow.”


After her initial hurdles, Mary promised herself to never compromise on her fitness routine. Come what may, she never misses her routine. “I don’t pay heed to anything; I just concentrate on my training. My motto is to continue learning new things and develop my skills. Every bout is a new challenge and I don’t want to settle for anything but the winning trophy. So, my effort should also be at par. This is something that gets me going. There is no alternative to hard work,” says the boxer.


Comparisons with one’s counterpart are common. But one should not spend sleepless nights thinking about what if someone else wins. “Initially, I used to think about what others are doing or saying, but then I decided to concentrate on just winning. I’m my own competition, so, I work on myself and try and be better than my last fight,” says Mary, who believes that “only your dreams should keep you awake”.


It was 2001 and Mary was excited to make her international debut at the Asian Boxing Championship in Thailand, Bangkok. “I was the only medal expect, but I lost (she won a silver)… I was dejected,” she says. But she did not let the sad phase linger, as failures are essential for one to learn. “It made me realise that failure motivates you to work even harder. Whenever I lose, I analyse my mistakes and started working on them. It helps me better my skill set,” Mary continues. “Keep your failures close to your heart and take lessons from them,” she adds.



In a physically demanding sport like boxing, Mary shone even after the birth of her sons, Khupneivar, Rechungvar and Prince Chungthanglen. “Beat that,” says Mary. “Many told me I won’t be able to but I knew I can. I went back to my training with a vengeance and I did it. So always believe in yourself, willpower is important. I want to tell this to every woman, we can do everything if we want to,” she says, sharing an interesting anecdote. Before stepping into the ring, Mary prays for a few seconds and recollects the David and Goliath story. “In the ring, I am David and my opponent is Goliath,” she laughs, adding, “But outside, I’m friends with them.”

From 2018 to 2019

One thing from 2018 that you’d like to change?

I have this habit of getting angry and shouting when my kids fight. It’s time I change this habit, because they are growing up.

And one thing you’d continue in 2019?

Fighting spirit, always (smiles).


When Mary began her journey, media meant newspapers, radio and TV. Social media is a relatively new phenomenon. And it does help one to connect with people around the world. But at the same time, the medium can be a harsh one, too. Mary says that every time she loses a bout she is written off... it does hurt her and social media only makes it worse. “I face a lot of criticism, some write I am finished while others declare my retirement. It used to make me very angry initially, now I just smile. I read these reactions but don’t let them touch me. Use social media to your advantage, don’t let it hurt you,” she advises.

Author tweets @Shreya_MJ

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