At 20 years old, Ambreen Sadiq owns a business, has a documentary made on her, and is a former UK national boxing champion. With such a wide array of accomplishments, one would think her family would be very proud. Such is not the case.
Sadiq’s immediate family is proud of her. However, her extended family is very upset with the life she has chosen. The reason being her gender and her religion. Sadiq is a Muslim. She insists that it isn’t the religion itself that causes the issues for her, but the culture associated with it.
She had her first boxing fight when she was 15. The day after the fight, her family threw a party to celebrate and invited much of the extended family. Her father had to leave, and while he was away, Sadiq was approached by her uncle. Sadiq says her uncle told her, “You’ve done really good, but it’s your first fight and your last fight. You shouldn’t do anymore because you’re bringing shame to the family.”
As her boxing career rose, so did national and even international attention. Members of her local mosque would question her parents allowing her to fight. On her Twitter page, people began to make threats on her life for what she was doing. She says that Muslim women have been even more adverse to her choices than most Muslim men.
Despite the challenges she’s been faced with, Sadiq claims she would’t change a thing. She believes that she’s breaking down barriers not only for herself, but for women around the world. “You have to put yourself first,” she says. She describes the growth she has experienced as a person due to boxing.
Sadiq is absolutely right. Overcoming challenges reveals more about us than we could ever know otherwise. She is a true inspiration, and an amazing person. If you would like to read more about her, check out this article by Radhika Sanghani.
Cover Photo: Christopher Nunn