Mary Kom is poetry in motion, says Ramla Ali

In Ramla, Somalian boxing has a glowing face to showcase itself worldwide.

Ramla Ali: "Boxing has become huge ever since it was included in the Olympics."   -  pti

It is not the Ali in her name that attracted Ramla to boxing. “Boxing picked me,” she says, as a matter-of-fact. “It really chose me,” she reiterates. Ramla Ali, in Delhi to compete in the World Boxing Championship, fled strife-torn Somalia and found peace in boxing, in the United Kingdom.

“I was really young, 12 years old. I was overweight. Boxing helped me lose weight,” says Ramla, reflecting on her decision to take to “boxercise.” 

The resolve of a champion drove her to punish her body –hook and jab at opponents and receive the `compliments’ in much harsher pounding. It steeled her and prepared her for an arduous journey.

It was only last year that she was nearly flattened by a career-threatening injury. “I had the biggest injury scare of my life. I had two concussions back to back; a nerve damage at the back of the neck from the concussion. I was really scared. It put me off boxing.” But she fought back as only a champion would. 

'Women's boxing beautiful to watch'

Ramla acknowledges that men’s boxing is very different from women’s. “Men are scientifically stronger than women,” she feels.

But equally firm is her view that, “Women are more technically gifted. We can be big boxers as well. We want to showcase our skills. That’s the main difference. Women’s boxing is beautiful to watch.”  

Ramla emphasises that women's boxing is also “very competitive.” In her opinion, “Boxing has become huge ever since it was included in the Olympics. It was big before but not as big as it has become now. It is evident in the number of participants. I heard it is a lot more than it has ever been in the past. For example, Somalia has its first boxer. More and more countries are getting involved. That’s a really good thing.”

A Mary Kom fan

Muhammad Ali is a timeless icon of boxing – the greatest ambassador for the sport. What Ali was to world boxing, Ramla is to Africa. As is Mary Kom to Indian boxing! “Is she here,” Ramla enquires, like an enthusiastic fan.

“I wish I could meet her, take a picture with her. She is, essentially, women’s boxing. She always comes up in every conversation we have. Her boxing is poetry in motion. There is nothing ugly to watch in Mary Kom.” 

Ramla has an Indian connection. One of her uncles lives in Mumbai. “He lives in Colaba. I was in Mumbai three years ago for three weeks. I loved everything about the place, the smell, the people, the architecture, the colours, you don’t get that in other places. Maybe, I might go to Taj Mahal this time. It is on my bucket list.”  

Somalia now has a national boxing federation. In Ramla, it has a glowing face to showcase the nation worldwide.