From Tehran to Royan, boxer Sadaf Khadem fights for the first time in a ring


TEHRAN: Sadaf Khadem can not believe it. The young Iranian discovers, blue gloves barely removed, her sports license: “that’s it, I’m an amateur boxer!”. She will finally be able to deliver Saturday her first official fight, during a short stay in France.

“It’s historic!” This is the first fight of an Iranian who is validated, registered with real referees by a national federation.It is the first official fight of an Iranian “in English boxing, assures Mahyar Monshipour, in charge of the organization.

In a gym in Royan (Charente-Maritime) where the meeting will take place on Saturday, the former world champion boxing coach his protégé, met in 2017 in Iran during a training. The 24-year-old recontacts her a few months ago, she’s tired of training and wants to box.

“The idea came when the IOC (International Olympic Committee) called on the countries, which did not make all mixed sports, to make them mixed in their country on pain of exclusion of male teams from the Olympic Games”, explains Monshipour.

The French Boxing Federation and the Ministry of Sports then played the game giving the necessary permissions “because it is not resident in France and it is not French”, said this technical adviser to the Ministry of Sports, impressed by the mind of the young woman.

Saturday, Sadaf will realize his dream: boxing in front of an audience. Three times to try to beat the French Anne Chauvin.

Three years she was waiting for this moment. This beginner says apprehend him without fear, even if his opponent is more experienced with four fights under his belt. “I want to perform as well as possible, show the moves and sequences that I learned,” says the boxer, whose Farsi is translated by his coach.

“She’s a warrior, she has progressed technically since she came” on April 6, observes the former French-Iranian champion.

In France, she discovers “very warm people”. “I really did not expect that, I’m pleasantly surprised,” said the young woman who follows training and interviews, a media run that she is the first surprise. She meets emotionally high level athletes such as Olympic vice-champion Sofiane Oumiha.

An entry into the world of the big ones of which this fitness teacher in Tehran is unaccustomed. Three years ago, she went into boxing after having “had a hard time”, in a country where it is forbidden to train with men and to participate in boxing competitions.

“I teach during the day and during my free time, I train five to six times a week, either running or boxing,” she says.

The lack of women qualified to train boxers is reminiscent of the situation experienced in many countries in the early 1990s when the first professional women’s boxing matches were organized.

Hair raised with strands a little red, eyes focused, the new licensee club Royan fists, in shorts and tank top, determined to win.

“I want to improve as much as possible, go as far as possible and show the way to other Iranian women so that they can taste this sport”, in a country where there is “a huge craze for combat sports” says the young beginner. So much so that Iran International TV will broadcast this match live.