The professional British-Somalian boxer and Olympic athlete is breaking entrenched barriers for women entering sports at the grassroots level.
Who introduced you to the sport of boxing?
I owe my introduction to boxing to boxercise classes at the age of 12, a journey born out of the need to boost my self-confidence and reshape my body perception. Training secretly due to concerns about my family’s disapproval, I eventually gained strength and impressed trainers who recognised my potential. Despite warnings that ‘girls don’t box,’ I pursued the sport and my passion grew.
Which is the most personally satisfying professional highlight thus far?
The most satisfying moment for me was representing Somalia in the Olympic Games in 2021. As the first Somali female professional boxer and the first from my home country to compete in the Olympics, it meant everything. Despite the challenges, the experience encapsulated the essence of the Olympics – representing my community and nation. While the loss stung, I see it as a step forward for Somali women in sports. Regardless of the hurdles, being there and competing was more important than my personal journey, paving the way for a positive shift in the landscape of females in African sports.
What is the nature of your recent collaboration with SIRO One Za’abeel in Dubai?
Partnering with SIRO is a natural fit for me, given our shared commitment to inclusivity and well-being. In the often male-dominated realm of boxing, I’ve strived to create an environment where women feel not just accepted but encouraged to participate. SIRO mirrors these ambitions by aiming to introduce hotels and platforms that welcome everyone to enhance their well-being and positively impact their physical and mental health. I’m excited to work with the SIRO team to develop programmes and experiences that go beyond traditional fitness routines. It’s about breaking barriers just as we’ve done in the world of boxing.
What are the three things that always accompany you on your travels?
The first is my pair of boxing gloves, ensuring I’m always ready for impromptu training sessions. The second is a journal – a space for reflection, goal-setting, and capturing the moments along my journey. Lastly, I take with me a carefully curated playlist of motivational tunes.
Which is your most memorable travel experience?
Our favourite trip has been to the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. We are looking forward to continuing our travels through Africa with an upcoming trip to Rwanda where we will be staying at the stunning One&Only resorts. This is something me and my husband have been wanting to do for the last five years.
How do you spend your Air Miles?
My Air Miles are crucial in balancing my demanding training schedule and personal life. I use them to book flights for competitions, ensuring I can maintain peak performance without compromising family time.
You started the Ramla Ali Sisters Club a few years ago. What’s been the impact of it?
The Ramla Ali Sisters Club has proved a haven for Muslim women to train without fear of discrimination. The club, initially focusing on providing a safe space for women to train with or without hijabs, has expanded its mission to include self-defence classes. The Sisters Club was at the beginning directed towards Muslim women, but has evolved into a resource for any woman, particularly those facing vulnerability and limited access to sports. The impact extends beyond teaching physical skills – it’s about inspiring confidence and empowerment.
What will life after boxing look like for you?
Life after boxing holds a multitude of opportunities for growth, impact, and embracing new challenges. My partnership with SIRO is something I envision long-term as their dedication to holistic well-being aligns seamlessly with my vision, ensuring a transition from boxing that prioritises health, fulfilment, and continued empowerment.