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Featherweight boxer Ramla Ali is about to break barriers in Saudi Arabia's first women's bout.

(CNN)After escaping the war in Somalia as a child, featherweight boxer Ramla Ali decided to do it all for himself. had to fight.

The 32-year-old is about to write a new chapter in her amazing life as she gears up for her next match against Dominican Cristal Garcianova. }Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

The battle to take place in Jeddah on Saturday will see the literal 'fight' for women's rights reach new heights in the Kingdom. Ali appeared on the undercard for Joshua in Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony.

"I am proud to give hope to my community and people and to give African girls another reason to start playing sports and work hard for what they want to do," said Ali. told CNN Sport
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As refugees, Ali is used to breaking down walls. She fled war-torn Somalia with her family and settled in the UK, coping with the tragic death of her brother.

She told her CNN in 2018: My mother didn't want that her life for us. She'

Although Ali struggled to fit in at her school and was teased for her size, she discovered the sport of boxing in her new home. At first, it was a casual, healthy hobby for her to lose weight.

But her hobby soon blossomed into a passion.

Ali has had success as an amateur boxer and she has won titles including the 2016 Great She's British She's Championship.

Of this feat of hers, she told her CNN in 2018: She came out on top with them.

She then made history at Tokyo 2020, becoming the first Somali (male or female) ever to compete in boxing at the Olympics.

Now, new barriers have been broken in Saudi Arabia, with the kingdom allowing the first women's bout to be publicly broadcast on the world stage through Matchroom Her Boxing.

Sportswashing Horrors

But the battle is not without controversy. Many critics have accused Saudi Arabia of "sportswashing" its own image in events like this, trying to turn a blind eye to its record of human rights violations.

The contest saw Saudi women's rights activist Salma Al-Shehab serve her 34-year prison term for her activism on Twitter, according to court documents viewed by CNN. It took place less than a week after she was sentenced.

Her Al-Shehab, 33, was also banned from traveling outside Saudi Arabia for the next 34 years.

Ali, a devout Muslim whose dress reflects humility as both an athlete and a model, believes that fighting is still a moment of recognition and a step towards progress.

“I say that positive change should be celebrated. Nothing can be done overnight. Ensuring equality takes many steps in the right direction. We need to," she told CNN.

"If you look at what the West has done to other nations, races, and religions over the past 400 years, you can quickly make a judgment.

" While I do not condone action against women's inequality, I also believe in promoting greater inclusion and that is why I am here.

Saudi Arabia's minister of sports, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, said the fight was another example of a "breakthrough" for women in the kingdom, saying the attitude was

“Our country is changing, and women and girls play an important role. And we've made great strides in the last few years with a 150 percent increase in women's and girls' participation," he said in a written response to CNN. said in

"Ramla Ali is a great role model. I have no doubt many young girls will be inspired to see her fight Crystal Nova Garcia. Not just in Saudi Arabia, but around the world."

"A Story of Struggle and Perseverance"

Ali's struggles in and out of the ring are highlighted. Due to the training she receives from Los Angeles-based Mexican-American boxing coach Manny Robles.

"It's an honor to work with Ramla. She has the dedication and discipline to succeed in the sport of boxing." tells a story of struggle and perseverance:

"Everything she has is what she earns. She gives women hope and the ability to do whatever you set your mind to." It gives me reason to believe that there is.”

The 32-year-old undefeated 6-0 team says she's just getting started.

When she's not in the ring, Ali delves into the world of fashion and serves others as a UNICEF ambassador.

In 2018, Ali Established Sisters Club. This is her own charity that aims to provide women with free boxing classes every week. We aim to be a safe place for Muslim women to train without fear of discrimination.

"I still have a lot of work to do in and out of the ring, so I haven't given myself the freedom yet to just stare at what I've accomplished in my career. I'm proud of my resilience to make sure I take as many opportunities as possible along the way," she said. , Ali challenges traditional norms, breaks old barriers, and strives for equality as an African woman, a devout Muslim, and a passionate female boxer.