This Hijabi Boxer is Breaking Stereotypes

Meet Safiyyah Syeed, an 18-year-old female boxer from Bradford, West Yorkshire who wants to break stereotypes in boxing by becoming one of the first hijab-wearing female boxers to compete in the ring.

When the International Boxing Association (AIBA) lifted a ban on hijabs and other full-body uniforms that fighters wear for religious reasons early this year, Safiyyah was determined to realize her dream of becoming a boxer.

Safiyyah began boxing a year ago after writing a bucket list while suffering from an unidentified illness that stemmed from anorexia and bulimia.

After overcoming her condition which includes being bedridden as a result of her illness, Safiyyah said she wants to inspire and show people that it’s possible to have a positive relationship with your body.

Metro.co.uk wrote that Safiyyah plans to enter the ring for her first official amateur fight later this year.

To prepare for that, the teenager who is studying a leadership programme at university, begun training twice a day.

In the article, Safiyyah expressed her worries about being a hijabi girl going into a boxing gym as that’s a scenario not many are used to seeing.

But to her surprise, people were nice, supportive and didn’t seem to mind the hijab.

“It doesn’t affect my boxing at all, some people thin it might make it hard to move but I forget I’m even wearing it,” she said.

“They don’t go easy on me but I always say ‘just because I’m a girl don’t think anything different of me,” she added.

Restrictions on wearing a hijab while competing in boxing have long been an issue in boxing, affecting female Muslim boxers in the past.

With the ban lifted, Safiyyah has her sights set on competing at the Olympic Games one day.

Photo credit: metro.co.uk