“Don’t mess with this gal”
In 2009, a 16-year-old school girl made headlines after clinching a National Boxing Championship in just her second bout. Now, four years on, Ambreen Sadiq is promoting the sport she loves in schools and youth groups across the country.
As a pioneer for Asian girls in boxing, Sadiq has had to overcome a lot of challenges in order to succeed in the competitive industry. As well as breaking down barriers in the world of boxing, she has had to contest against misguided beliefs surrounding different religion’s views on the sport.
However, following the success of last year’s London Olympics, Keighley’s boxing star believes ‘the tide now appears to be changing’ as women and girls become more and more involved in her sport.
“It is great to see girls taking up boxing, whether it is competitive or just for fitness,” Sadiq explained.
“Thanks to the success of people like Nicola Adams last year in the Olympics, boxing is becoming popular with both genders.”
“It is my aim to get more girls in the ring as we are majorly misrepresented in a sport which was labeled ‘a boy sport’ for way too long. Even if it is just for fitness, not competition, boxing is a sport open to everybody.
“One of my biggest targets is to get more Asian girls involved as well. In the past people have said that to take up the sport would be against their faith but it’s not. It may be a completely different culture but it isn’t against any religion.”
Sadiq’s most recent in-ring action came in March, when she competed in Rotherham, yet most of her time now is spent coaching the ‘stars of the future’.
Working as part of Eastburn Sport and Fitness, Sadiq visits different educational establishment to provide caching for the school children.
“I love meeting the kids because for most of them, they are fans of boxing so it’s not just another P.E lesson for them,” she said.
Last month, the boxing ace also partook in training a group of actresses in preparation for a theatre production on women in boxing. A completely new type of challenge but one Sadiq was happy to take on.
“Initially I was contacted to do an interview about my life for a new production about girls in boxing. Soon after, I began to get more involved with the project and helped out with coaching the actresses so they knew how to properly throw punches and the correct stances.”
“I hadn’t done anything like that before but it was really enjoyable and something I loved doing.”
Ambreen Sadiq now hopes to swap the streets of Keighley for the beaches of Rio in 2016 as she dreams of booking her seat on the plane to Brazil for the next installment of the Olympic Games.