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Ramla Ali, a featherweight boxer, aims to break down barriers in the first ever female bout in Saudi Arabia

Ramla Ali, a featherweight boxer, has had to struggle for everything she has after left Somalia’s civil war as a young child.

As she gets ready for her next fight against Crystal Garcia Nova of the Dominican Republic in the first-ever female event to be hosted in Saudi Arabia, the 32-year-old is set to begin a new chapter in her remarkable life.

Ali’s bout, which will takes place on Saturday in Jeddah as part of the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua undercard, will mark a defining moment in the literal “fight” for women’s the country’s rights.

According to Ali, “I’m proud to give my community and people hope and give African girls another reason to take up sport and strive for everything they desire to.”

Ramla Ali, a featherweight boxer, aims to break down barriers in the first ever female bout in Saudi Arabia.

Ali is used to overcoming obstacles due to her status as a refugee. As she dealt with the tragic death of her brother, she and her family left the war-torn country of Somalia and migrated to the United Kingdom.

In 2018,  “My elder brother died in the war, which is the reason we came here. She was playing outside when a grenade hit him.
Ali struggled to blend in at school and experienced bullying due to her size.
However, it was in her new home that she first learned about boxing, first as a lighthearted, healthy hobby to help her lose weight.

But her fascination quickly evolved into a passion.

Ali excelled as an amateur boxer, taking home victories such as the 2016 Great British Championship.

in 2018 about the achievement: “I went in there a bit of an underdog..

I was very frightened when I saw the list [with the other competitors], but I prevailed by beating them.

Then, at Tokyo 2020, she created history by becoming the first Somalian – male or female – to compete in boxing.

Ali gets ready for Saudi Arabia’s first-ever female bout. Match room Boxing/Mark Robinson

But there are some controversial aspects to the fight. In an effort to divert attention from its history of human rights violations, several critics have charged Saudi Arabia with “sports washing” its image with events like these. Women, for instance, were only recently granted the legal right to drive in June 2018.

Ramla Ali continued last month’s unbeaten professional boxing career to thunderous chants of “Ali, Ali, Ali” from a huge crowd.

The Somali community is great because they support one another and their own, adds Ali.

Ali’s journey started as a child refugee who from war-torn Somalia and led to her becoming the first Muslim fighter to win an amateur English title.

Meghan Markle handpicked the Olympian, author, activist, and successful model to feature on the cover of Vogue

Ali will once again make history this week in Jeddah when she fights in the first professional female fight to ever take place in Saudi Arabia on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua.

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