M C Mary Kom on Sunday, November 18 stormed into the 48 kg quarterfinal of AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships with a win over Aigerim Kessenayeva of Kazakhstan but stopped short of promising an unprecedented sixth gold in the marquee event.
Mary Kom is currently tied with Katie Taylor of Ireland on five gold in the World Championships. The 35-year-old Manipuri, a mother of three, won a silver in the first edition and then went on to win five gold in successive World Championships from 2002 to 2010.
"Anything can happen in a boxing bout. The country and the fans want a gold from me and I will give my best and try to win a gold," she said after winning the bout 5-0 in the capital.
"There was a bit of pressure as it was my first bout of the tournament. I have been handling the pressure of expectation from the people of my country for the last 16 years and I have happy to face this pressure. In the initial years, it was a bit tough to handle this pressure but now I am used to it," said the Olympic bronze medallist.
She said she was not bothered by negative talks about her in some quarters.
"Sometimes, there were negative things being said about me but I am not bothered by these negative things about me.
"My life is all about boxing and I will focus on my sport. I am enjoying my sport and I am enjoying the love offered by the fans. I am still working hard and hard work pays," the Olympic bronze medallist said.