On Sunday, boxing fans in the ancient Saudi city of Diriyah were presented with an incredible evening of boxing. One of the highlights was Saudi Ragad Al-Naimi defeating Perpetual Okaidah by points in her match.
Al-Naimi declared, “It feels great. I’m very proud of myself. I want to thank the Ministry of Sports, the Saudi (Arabian) Boxing Federation led by Abdullah Al-Harbi, the Vice President Rasha Al-Khamis, my coaches and my sister, who is with me today.”
Al-Khamis, who is on the Asian Boxing Federation’s board of directors, said to Arab News: I’m super proud of Ragad performing in a global event. This gives more reassurance that women’s boxing is growing in Saudi. Today is an example that nothing is impossible. If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”
She added that with Al-Naimi, Ziad Majrashi, and Salman Hamda winning their fights, the first few hours demonstrated what Saudi boxers can do on a worldwide competitive platform for combat sports. She went on to say it was an honor to be part of history with three Saudi boxers winning the first three fights of the evening.
Al-Naimi, who discovered boxing while a student in the US, is the first Saudi woman to make a professional debut. When she returned to the Kingdom, which has seen a 300 percent increase in the number of male and female boxers registered with the Saudi Arabian Boxing Federation, she was driven to continue her training because of her enthusiasm for the sport.
There are currently 59 boxing gyms, up from seven, and 33 private mixed-gender gyms now providing boxing as a mixed combat sport.
In recent years, boxing has been increasingly important to Saudi Arabia’s rise to prominence as a host of major international sporting events.
Source: Cosmo Politian
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