‘The Hijabi boxer’ Safiyyah Syeed reveals her story

The Hijabi boxer’ Safiyyah Syeed
The Hijabi boxer’ Safiyyah Syeed

Safiyyah Syeed overcame a long-long term illness and eating disorder to enter the boxing ring wearing her hijab.

She entered an amateur boxing competition wearing her hijab after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) lifted a ban on religious clothing being worn inside the ring.

Syeed told the Sidelines podcast: “I remember the first time I went to the (boxing) gym, there were a few girls, but I was the only Asian girl there.

“We had to be in partners and a trainer said to someone else: ‘Shut up! Before I make you spar her [in a mocking way].’

“I heard him and I said: “We’ll get in the ring then!”

“So I got in the ring and everyone was watching, a big guy, he was 6 foot, but I needed to prove a point because he disrespected me…and I ended up busting his lip!

“I had to earn my place.

“In a boxing camp a trainer said: “It’s ok, you can do the ‘girls’ press-ups!’

“I didn’t want to but couldn’t do them when I started, so I practised every day doing 100 and then I started to do more than anyone else training!”

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