New Delhi:M C Mary Kom's unprecedented four World Championship titles don't just make her a legend but also strengthen women's boxing's case for inclusion in the 2012 London Olympics, says International Boxing Association (AIBA) President Ching-Kuo Wu.
Hailing the Manipuri pugilist's record feat, Wu said her remarkable achievement of winning medals in all the five world championships held so far has added weight to AIBA's effort to get women's boxing included in Olympics.
"Having witnessed the excellent performances at the AIBA World Championships Ningbo City 2008, especially those of the very impressive Mary Kom, it illustrates how popular and successful the sport of women's boxing is right now and adds further weight behind including women's boxing in the Olympic Games," Wu said in an interview from AIBA headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Mary Kom, a mother of two, came back from a two-year sabbatical to clinch her fourth successive world championship gold last year, a feat that prompted AIBA to describe her as 'Magnificent Mary'.
The women's World Championship itself grew by leaps and bounds and in the fifth edition held in Ningbo City, China last year a record 41 countries competed.
Wu said all this has made AIBA confident of getting International Olympic Committee's (IOC) nod for the sport's Olympic debut in 2012 London Games.
"AIBA has filed its application to the IOC to have women's boxing included into the Olympic Games. We now must wait on the decision of the IOC Executive Board. We are quietly confident but we must wait for the IOC, which is expected to make a decision in October this year," Wu said.
"We have submitted a comprehensive proposal and we dearly hope that women's boxing in the Olympic Games will become a reality," he added.
Women's boxing is being considered for Olympic inclusion after squash and karate, shortlisted to replace baseball and softball, failed to get the required two-third backing in the IOC.
Lauding India's growing stature in boxing, Wu said the country's continuing rise augurs well for the Asian region. "To have such a passionate sporting country as India so strong in boxing is a key ingredient to the development of the sport, especially in Asia which is becoming one of the most competitive continents in the sport," he said.
Men's boxing's format changes to three rounds of three minutes each from the earlier four rounds of two minutes each this year and Wu said this would make the sport more spectator-friendly besides presenting a tougher challenge to pugilists.
"Boxing has always been a sport of stamina, skill and concentration. The change to three rounds of three minutes will add weight to these key skill groups and provide a better spectacle for the boxing public and television audiences around the world," he said.
"The AIBA Medical Commission conducted a thorough study into the pros and cons of making such a change, and the AIBA Executive Committee was consequently thoroughly convinced about approving the move.
"All sports fans want to see the best athletes perform at their ultimate capacity and this change to the AIBA Technical and Rules will provide that," he added.