There used to be a time when Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte was a completely unknown name.
Back in the day, with zero videos of her bouts online and not even a single news channel covering her progress, if you'd told her that one day, she is going to be ranked number 1 in the whole world by the International Boxing Federation (AIBA), she would have knocked you out cold with an uppercut for mocking her.
#WWCHs2018 Finals - Light Fly (48kg)@MangteC (IND) defeats Mi Hyang Kim (PRK) and becomes 2018 AIBA World Champion!! Congratulations Mary ð¥ð¥ðª#AIBAFamily #ChampsBornHere @BFI_official pic.twitter.com/wlSLmbJHvB— AIBA (@AIBA_Boxing) November 24, 2018
When she was only 13, Mary knew that she wanted to become a professional boxer. Despite her soon-to-be coach Leishangthem Ibomcha Singh, who was responsible for bringing up around 50 international medal winners from within the state of Manipur, constantly challenging her, and her aspirations of becoming a pugilist, Mary, like any stubborn teenager, stuck to what she wanted.
Living in an insurgency-bound Imphal, Mary's journey to success was full of constant terror and adversities. With endless reports of kidnappings, shootings and bombings ever since Manipur's merging with India, the idea of 'do whatever your heart says' wasn't exactly a number one priority for the people living there.
In fact, the situation was so bad up there, that even Mary Kom's own father-in-law was murdered by the insurgents soon after she got married to Onler Kom in 2005.
While there's no denying Mary Kom's hard work and raw passion for the sport that has taken her this far in life, it is Onler Kom, Mary's husband who has been her anchor during the experience. Full of compassion and regard for her wife, Onler has never backed out of supporting her dreams.
“I knew her dreams and was ready to help her in every way," Onler told The Times of India. “I had my own dreams, but when I came to know her it changed… I married her for her simplicity and her willingness to become a successful sportswoman.”View this post on Instagram
“A man's success is measured by what his wife and children say about him. Money and accomplishments mean nothing if you let your home fail.” With my hubby @onler_kom #travelling @selfclicked #blessings
A post shared by Mary Kom (@mcmary.kom) on Dec 5, 2018 at 3:37am PST
Despite the support, what a lot of people do not realise is how much being a mother of three can take a toll on your professional career.
With a lot of extra responsibilities on her shoulders as compared to any of her opponents along with the growing age, the 35-year-old, somehow, manages not only to take out time to train herself but also to train nearly 130 young and aspiring students at the Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation, an academy initiated by the boxer and her husband to inspire, motivate and train India's finest pugilists of all time.
“This Boxing Academy is a reality of my dream of creating a Centre of excellence to produce the best boxing champions for India,” Mary Kom conveys her message on the website.
Mary once said that there lies a story of struggle behind every medal that she's ever won. In her long, successful and inspirational career, the Arjuna and Padma Shri awardee has made and broken various records whilst becoming the most successful boxer in the history of Women's World Championships by winning a record 6th gold medal last year.
Recently ranked Number One in the world, Mary Kom has no intentions of throwing in the towel just yet as she has already begun preparing for Tokyo Olympics 2020.