Ragad Al-Naimi makes history as Saudi Arabia’s first female professional fighter

DIRIYAH: Fans in the historical Saudi city of Diriyah were treated to an amazing evening of boxing on Sunday.
One of the highlights was Saudi female Ragad Al-Naimi winning her match against Perpetual Okaidah by points.
Al-Naimi told Arab News after her match that she was proud to represent the Kingdom among international fighters.
“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,” she added.
Al-Khamis, who is also a member of the board of the Asian Boxing Federation, told 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 said it was a pleasure to witness history, with three Saudi boxers winning the first three fights of the evening.
She added that the first couple of hours showed what Saudi boxers can achieve on a global competitive platform for combat sports, with Al-Naimi, Ziad Majrashi and Salman Hamda winning their bouts.
Al-Naimi is the first Saudi female boxer to make a professional debut, having been introduced to the sport while studying in the US.
Her passion for boxing compelled her to continue training upon her return to the Kingdom, which has witnessed a 300 percent surge in male and female boxers registered with the Saudi Arabian Boxing Federation.
The number of boxing gyms has increased from seven to 59, and 33 private mixed-gender gyms now offer boxing as part of mixed combat sports.
Recent years have seen boxing play a pivotal part in Saudi Arabia’s ascension as a host of international sports events.


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