My first fight actually happened rather unofficially since back in 2010/2011, there weren't many girls in the boxing scene in Singapore. We're a small country, and most girls at the time hadn't really had any exposure to women's boxing, or even boxing in general. I simply wanted to lose some weight and get my fitness back since I loved being active when I was younger but had indulged in one too many late nights in my 20s. I happened upon boxing at a work event (Singapore hosted the 2010 Youth Olympics, and I was working on one of the side events as an events manager) and decided to give it a try. The coach gave me some padwork and told me to contact him afterward and invited me to train at his gym. I fell in love instantly with how technically beautiful yet physically demanding this sport was, and of course, it was great to let go of all of that energy on the bags!
I was one of only two girls training at a gym full of guys, but it was always fun with them. About 4-6 months in, there was a boxing invitational coming up, and my coach wanted me to get some ring experience in. He decided to pair me up with the other girl and set us up for a fight, even though we weighed in with a 10 kg difference! Suffice to say, the referee stopped the fight within the first round since he thought I was taking too many big blows (my opponent and I were both confused because we were complete newbies and didn't know what had just happened!), but after the fight, the president of our boxing association came over to speak to me. He told me I was actually scoring more points (back then, it was still a point-by-point scoring system instead of the 10-Point Must System) and encouraged me to keep training hard. That really motivated me, and despite work and life getting in the way at times, I kept finding my way back to boxing. It was always at the back of my mind. In 2013/2014, I finally set my mind to train a little more consistently and never looked back.
The scene is so different now, and I'm glad to see so many more girls participating in this wonderful sport! Boxing has really changed my life for the better: physically, mentally, and emotionally. If I could offer one piece of advice, it's to not let anyone tell you what you can, or cannot do. I had many doubters telling me I'm too old for competitive boxing, but at 32 and being an athlete on the national team, getting a chance to represent my country and putting Singapore on the boxing map has made me prouder than any other achievement in life.
SINGAPORE NATIONAL TEAM
HER FIRST FIGHT: Stories To Encourage & Inspire is Revolheart's blog series chronicling women and girls' first bouts in the ring. We did it and so can you. Spark another gal's fight, share your first fight story! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's All Fight!