Women’s boxing event off to electric start

Participants want more such tournaments in future

Natasha Raheel November 20, 2016
Female boxers fight at National Coaching Center. PHOTO: ONLINE/Sabir Mazhar

KARACHI: “My father isn’t even aware I’m here, but I know he’ll be proud,” said the 17-year-old Savera Khan moments after winning the 64kg title at K-Electric’s (KE) inaugural Girl’s Boxing Tournament at the National Coaching Centre yesterday.

The teenager from District Malir isn’t the only one defying the odds and changing the perceptions of what girls can or cannot be. The tournament featured 20 aspiring pugilists in 10 different weight categories from Malir, South, East and Central districts.

Savera, along with five others, has been training for two months with famed boxing coach Abdul Rashid Qambrani.

“I want to be just like my coach who has represented Pakistan internationally. It is my dream to do the same one day,” Savera told The Express Tribune.

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Meanwhile, Barkat Ali — who is also a former international boxer and now a coach in Lyari’s Chakiwara neighbourhood — pitted six of his charges in the event, and urged others to put together more women’s boxing events a la KE’s.

“It has been a great event, but this shouldn’t be it,” said Ali, who also refereed the event. “Our men’s boxing hasn’t been doing great, so we don’t want women’s boxing to meet the same fate.”

Eighth-grader Ayesha Abdullah talked about her boxing idol and disclosed her simple fighting strategy.

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“I’ve been training for two years and it is fun. I want to be strong like Laila Ali,” said Ayesha who competed in the 32kg event. “Punching someone else is fun, but getting punched is not, so when I enter the ring I simply try and evade my opponent’s punches while I throw a flurry of mine.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2016.

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