Boxing is a brutal sport. But Singapore’s first female professional boxer Nurshahidah Roslie is more than badass enough.
In the ring, boxer Nurshahidah ‘The Sniper’ Roslie is force to be reckoned with. It’s hard to take your eyes off her, with her bright pink boxing gloves and her death stare. She’s caught a lot of attention repping Singapore in the male-dominated sport of boxing, but , our girl has the accolades to prove her place in the ring: she nailed the second Singapore Fighting Championship (SFC) in February 2016, and in June that year clinched the Universal Boxing Organisation (UBO) Intercontinental Super Featherweight title belt.
Her pink gloves didn’t make an appearance on the day we caught up at the new Juggernaut Fight Club in Tiong Bahru, but Nurshahidah was game to pull off a few tough poses for us and joked about how she hates eating salad and that she’s “getting better” at Latin dancing.
Here’s what else you need to know about Singapore’s first professional female boxer:
She is a feminist
“Yes, I am a feminist!”, Nurshahidah exclaims, and she isn’t shy to talk about empowerment – she believes that gender equality is a myth that fails to understand the power structures women experience.
She’s been stereotyped throughout her career
Yes, she’s been asked “How are you going to get married?” and “Won’t your husband be afraid?” Someone also once straight-out told her that Singapore athletes are a joke. But Nurshahidah is well-seasoned in handling the trolls. Her response? Well, they don’t call her ‘The Sniper’ for nothing– her long arms work silently and swiftly from long range. We kid, the tough cookie has one thing to say: “We work our asses off, harder than any of these people who are just talk.”
Her parents will never go to her matches
And it’s not because they are unsupportive of her career choice – it’s because they can’t bear to see her get injured during fights. “Once they sponsored my sister’s ticket to watch a match because she couldn’t afford it, just so she could watch me fight,” says Nurshahida. “I guess that’s how they quietly show their support.”
It’s all about focus, focus, focus when in the ring
When Nurshahidah enters the ring, she says she stops thinking. “I let my body take over, that’s when I put trust in my training, so when I’m up there, my mind is blank,” she says. “What makes a good boxer is not about the stamina, skill, or strength. It’s really about listening to your trainers and coaches so you need to work with the right team for you.”
She knows women in sport don’t gain enough recognition.
“Being a woman is difficult in general. Being a woman means having to struggle more and work doubly hard just to get recognised as an ‘equal’ – being good enough is not enough for the public. You need to be better, you need to be someone who inspires others to do better and that takes a lot of work,” she says.
She wants to inspire girls to get into sport
Nurshahidah also leads an all-female boxing class at Juggernaut Fight Club. She wants women everywhere to feel comfortable with being confident. She explains, “When I’m boxing, I feel confident and I feel good. I want other women to feel that for themselves.”
Catch Nurshahidah at the upcoming sixth instalment of SFC: Rise of Legends where where she’ll be sparring with Thai champion Siriphon Chanbuala for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) Asia Female Featherweight Championship & Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) Silver Featherweight Championship. Get your tickets here.
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