Smashing stereotypes along her way, 18-year-old Safiyyah Syeed from Bradford, plans to enter the ring for her very first amateur fight later this year by sporting a traditional headscarf, a long-sleeved top and leggings. The teenager from West Yorkshire began is making her ‘bucket list’ of which boxing is among the top into a ‘reality list’ by planning to participate in it, a plan which she had listed when suffering from anorexia and bulimia.
Overcoming all in the odds in the ‘barrier’ surrounding the hijab, to her personal and mental health, Safiyyah said that it is possible to have something good come out of a very perilous journey. With no force that can chain her down, the teenager wants to be one of the first Muslim women to compete nationally and hopes to take her boxing to the Olympics one day.
‘I was a bit worried at first about being a hijabi girl going into a boxing gym. It’s not what people are used to,’ said Safiyah.
‘But everyone has been so nice and supportive. No one minds that I wear a hijab in the ring.
‘It doesn’t affect my boxing at all, some people think it might make it hard to move but I forget I’m even wearing it’ she tells a daily.
In what could be deemed as the right time for her, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) lifted a ban on hijabs and other full-body uniforms that fighters wear for religious reasons.