Veteran boxer MC Mary Kom has decided she will not participate at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and Asian Games, and will instead focus her attention on the Commonwealth Games.

The 39-year-old pugilist is a six-time World Championship and one-time Asian Games gold medallst, and is the defending champion at the Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Birmingham starting 28 July.

“I would like to back off from World Boxing Championship and Asian Games and focus only on the preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games,” Mary Kom said in a statement published on social media by the Boxing Federation of India.

“This is a great opportunity to encourage my juniors to work harder and it will give them more exposure, experience and learning.”

The World Championships were originally scheduled for last December, but have will now be held in May in Turkey. The Asian Games meanwhile, in Hangzhou, China, are expected to start barely a month after the Commonwealth Games end.

The selection trials for all 12 categories of the World Championships will start from Monday and will end on Wednesday, the trials will also include Asian Games weights divisions. However, for the remaining two Asian Games weight categories (that are not in the World Championship roster), 51kg and 69kg, trials will be conducted separately on March 11-14 thereby giving more time to boxers of closest weight categories to also take a shot at the trials for the Asian Games.

“Mary Kom has been the torchbearer for Indian boxing since the last two decades and has inspired countless boxers and sports persons across the world. We completely respect her decision and it is a testimony of her champion character to make way for the other boxers,” Ajay Singh, BFI president said.

“We are delighted that we have such a good bench strength and are looking forward to the younger generation to make the nation proud and I hope and wish Mary all the best with her preparations for the CWG.”