When Rio Olympics gold medallist French boxer Estelle Mossely participated in her maiden World Championships 15 years ago she was left spellbound when she saw the iconic MC Mary Kom in her element inside the ring.
The legendary Indian pugilist was not a six-time world champion back then but already had two World golds in her kitty and was on her way to pocket a third. Her legend has only grown since then as she has collected eight medals at the prestigious event besides winning an Olympic bronze and medals at all marquee events.
“It was my first world championship in 2008. I saw this big champion for the very first time. I saw her fight and I was really excited to see a woman fighting like that and getting a big victory.
“For me, she is the biggest champion in the world since the starting of women’s boxing,” Mossely, who is in town for the Women’s Boxing World Championship, told PTI.
Mossely was not able to speak to Mary Kom back then but is keen to have a chat with the London Olympic bronze medallist in her first trip to India and she also hopes to visit the Taj Mahal.
“I saw her a few years after but haven’t got a chance to speak to her. I hope she’s around and I get a chance to speak to her this time.” Born to a Congolese father and Ukranian mother, Mossely has a pretty impressive resume herself, having won the World Championship and Olympic gold in the lightweight category before turning pro.
In the professional circuit, she is a world titleholder and is yet to taste defeat, enjoying a 11-0 record.
The Women’s World Championship will be her comeback in amateur boxing as she dreams of winning another Olympic title at her home in Paris 2024.
“I have trained for this since September last year, because professional is different form amateur boxing. I worked a lot to hit quick punches, and give lot of punches. I worked a lot and I’m ready.
“The Olympic Games is my target.” An IT engineer by profession and a mother of two, Mossely had decided to give up boxing after a golden run in 2016, when she won the Olympic and World Championship lightweight titles.
“It was not part of the plan to (turn pro). I had said if I win the Olympics, I will stop boxing and go back to work, but once that happened I had a lot of opportunities open up.” The 30-year-old feels the amateur boxing scene has become more competitive in the last few years thanks to IBA’s initiatives.
“Now we have more women in the World Championships, the quality of boxers has increased because IBA is helping poor country, giving more prize money and giving boxers the opportunity to fight.”