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RIYADH: This is the most promising time for Saudi women to be the face of boxing.
The sport is becoming more widely known in the Kingdom, and more and more women are taking a leap of faith by pursuing their fighting passions. Saudi amateur boxer, Salma Fahad, is only 19 years old and she is ready to show the world the potential of Saudi women in boxing.
The amateur boxer is part of the TKO Fighters team and spends most of her day at TKO Gym in Al-Wadi in Riyadh, preparing for her showdown with professional fighters later this month.
“The next game is the exhibition which we will have on July 28 and 29,” Fahad said. “I’m really excited about it; we have worked hard and it is going to be a great event. It’s in Riyadh, at the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Fahad has been boxing for eight months. She joined the TKO fighters at the age of 18 and has aspired to be a boxer since childhood.
“I used to watch boxing on TV, especially women’s boxing, and I felt so inspired,” she said.
After my first fight, even though I got beaten, I took the fight even though I’ve been boxing for a week. It opened my eyes and brought that excitement to me.
The Saudi fighter has competed in two official competitions – her first competition was in Riyadh last year and her second match was in Kuwait last March. She also had shows throughout the year and trained regularly.
“Understanding what it’s like to be in amateur fights and gaining that type of experience made me realize how much I love this sport and how much I want to be involved in it,” he said. she declared. “After my first fight, even though I got beaten, I took the fight even though I’ve been boxing for a week. It opened my eyes and brought that excitement to me.
Fahad’s passion motivates her to train six days a week while trying to stay healthy to maintain her weight.
“You always have to wrap your hands to protect them, that’s the most important thing, so you don’t hurt yourself,” Fahad said.
“Usually we start with jump ropes and a warm-up to help with foot movement and use the speed bag to help with hand-eye coordination. We do exercises with each other, heavy bag movements, heavy bag workouts, working on the jab, the cross, the hooks – we put them together. We also work on head movements with each other.
Fahad’s favorite boxing move is the jab. “It pushes the other person away and opens up all the other counters and moves,” she said.
Despite stereotypes about the “masculinity” of the sport, Fahad continues to encourage budding fighters.
“Being out there and showing that you’ll never stop will break the stereotype,” she said. “With society, you can’t please everyone, especially being a woman and doing boxing. But you know, I realized that people who want to be inspired will see it in a positive way.
“Go for it; you’ve got nothing to lose – boxing has helped me find myself in so many ways, and it’s okay to start. If you start and stay consistent, you can reach anywhere you want to achieve,” she said.
Fahad found his team and coach from an Instagram post. She said she is surrounded by a support system of family, friends, teammates and her coach.
“My family is thankfully very supportive and has been with me every step of the way,” she said. “My trainer and my team have really helped me grow as a person. More than boxing, inside and outside of boxing, they have helped me feel more confident and more confident. comfortable in myself and in the sport. They are like my second family.
Saudi Arabia-based American boxing trainer Lee Starks formed the TKO Fighters team. It is the first women’s boxing team in the Kingdom in 2021. It started with four ambitious young female boxers and led them to the historic first championship in Riyadh.
“These young ladies and gentlemen came to me, and they were big boxing fans, and they trained really hard, so after a while we were like, so you know what? Let’s create a travel team,” Starks said. “There were only two or three tournaments a year, so we created a travel team that would travel outside of Saudi Arabia and participate there.”
Boxing continues to grow as a sport for Saudi women, and the outlook for the future is positive. Starks thinks the sport is going to be “really big in the next two or three years for Saudi women.”