Saudi Arabia: First female professional boxer makes history

Ragad Al Naimi scores a third round stoppage victory over Perpetual Okaidah

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Ragad Al Naimi during the bout in Diriyah on Sunday. — Supplied photo
Ragad Al Naimi during the bout in Diriyah on Sunday. — Supplied photo

Published: Mon 27 Feb 2023, 12:26 AM

Last updated: Mon 27 Feb 2023, 12:27 AM

Saudi Arabia and the world witnessed history this evening as Ragad Al Naimi became the first female fighter from the Kingdom to make her professional boxing, debuting on ‘The Truth’ undercard and winning in convincing fashion. With high expectations and an entire nation in her corner, Al Naimi showcased her potential as a future superstar of Saudi Arabian boxing, shining bright under the lights in Diriyah with a third round stoppage victory over Perpetual Okaidah.

In a dominant display from the opening bell, Al Naimi went forward on the offensive, backing her opponent up at every available opportunity with a flurry of quick-fire combinations. After two one-sided rounds in which she almost stopped Okaidah on multiple occasions, Al Naimi’s speed, footwork, and relentless pressure proved too much and the referee called a stop to the contest in round three to the delight of the hometown crowd.

Ragad Al Naimi celebrates her victory. — Supplied photo
Ragad Al Naimi celebrates her victory. — Supplied photo

Saudi Arabia has become one of the fastest growing countries in world sport in recent years and boxing has played a starring role – with mass participation among men and women alike. Since 2019, the Kingdom has witnessed a 300% surge in male and female boxers registered with the Saudi Arabian Boxing Federation, while the number of boxing gyms has also increased from seven to 59 and 33 private mixed gender gyms now offer boxing as part of mixed combat sports.

Al Naimi’s victory tonight is a testament to the resilience and determination of Saudi women to pursue their sporting passions and powerful story of inspiration for young girls and women aspiring to embark on careers in boxing and wider sport across the Kingdom. With mass participation sure to continue increasing, Al Naimi’s professional debut will pave the way for others to emulate her success moving forward.

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