Before she earned the sobriquet "Magnificent", Mary Kom used to help her parents in the jhum fields of Manipur make a subsistence living from slash and burn cultivation. That tough upbringing has helped in her fight to become one of the most famous athletes to come out of India. Her laugh rings merrily from Bangalore when asked how a girl from the village took up boxing to then became a world champion, Olympic medallist and a household name? Thankfully, I was able to convince him that boxing was just like any other sport and that I would not be a professional, but an amateur where the fighters are fully protected by headgear and other protective gear Mary Kom "I stumbled upon boxing. As a kid I only took part in athletics in school but, one day, I heard that they were looking for female boxers and I was interested immediately. I always loved martial sports. I used to watch all the movies of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan and I didn't need any persuasion to join up," Kom said. Even though her dad was against it initially, Kom is now a five-time world champion and London Olympic bronze medallist - the only Indian female boxer to qualify for London as well as the first Indian boxer to win five consecutive world titles. "My dad was dead against me taking up boxing. We were very poor. He was a farmer and he was frightened about what he would do if I got in injured in this physical sport. He was thinking about the money," said Kom. "Thankfully, I was able to convince him that boxing was just like any other sport and that I would not be a professional, but an amateur where the fighters are fully protected by headgear and other protective gear. I'm happy I got his blessings," said Kom, who arrives in Hong Kong on Friday to address the Forum of Indian Professionals about her life journey. It is a journey so inspirational that Bollywood made a movie last year with leading A-lister Priyanka Chopra in the starring role. The moment she became a celluloid star, Kom knew she had achieved what she had set out to. "Before Bollywood did a biopic about me, they had only done one other on an athlete - Milka Singh. "It was a proud moment for me when I watched the movie. It helped send a message to everyone. I wanted to show people in India, especially mothers that 'if Mary Kom can do it, why can't our daughters, too? "I wanted to be an inspiration for other girls. In India, women face a lot of challenges and I wanted to show that we, too, can become champions. "Only a few people knew about me before the London Olympics. But once I won a bronze medal everyone knew who Mary Kom was. In India, it is only cricket and lawn tennis, which are famous, but now even boxing is popular." The mother of three sons faced a fight even before she stepped into the ring, as she had to put on 5kg to qualify for the lowest weight category, the 51-kilogram flyweight. The London Games was the first time the International Olympic Committee had opened boxing to women. There were only three classes and the 51kg weight was the lowest. Kom had previously won all her world titles in the 46kg and 48kg category. "It was tough trying to make the grade. I sweat a lot and lose a lot of weight, so I had to keep myself hydrated all the time while taking weight supplements. I had to be careful, so that I didn't take any prohibited substances. I just managed to make the weight for London. The London Olympics was the third time I was fighting in this class and I was very inexperienced." In her first round Kom defeated Karolina Michalczuk of Poland 19-14. It earned her a berth in the quarter-finals, the following day, where she defeated Maroua Rahali of Tunisia with a score of 15-6. She then faced Briton Nicola Adams in the semi-finals and lost the bout 6-11. But she did enough to win bronze - and earn the title back home of "Magnificent Mary'". Last year at the Incheon Asian Games, Kom fought her way to the gold medal beating Kazakhstan's Zhaina Shekerbekova in the flyweight. At 32, Kom is training for the Rio Olympics with her sights set on gold. Her first goal is to qualify, at February's world championships in Kazakhstan. "If I qualify for the Olympics, it will be my last fight. I will retire, hopefully with a gold medal. But whatever happens, I have achieved what I wanted to do which is to inspire other girls," said Kom, who has started her own boxing academy in a move to discover future champions. On Friday, Hong Kong's Indian community will fête her at the Hong Kong Jockey Club's clubhouse in Happy Valley, and give her a helping hand in raising funds towards discovering the next Magnificent Mary. "I'm really excited to come to Hong Kong. This is my first visit. I have heard so much about this city, the place where Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan come from and I can't wait to come and see for myself this famous city," said Kom.