Athian: ‘Women can change narrative in boxing ring’

Athian: ‘Women can change narrative in boxing ring’
President of the South Sudan Boxing Federation (SSBF), Tereza Athian, speaks to the press at the federation’s headquarters in Juba on Wednesday. [Photo: Lino Garang]

The President of South Sudan’s Boxing Federation, Tereza Athian, urged young girls to participate in boxing sports as they strive to break free from traditional gender stereotypes.

Athian, who was addressing the journalists at SSBF’s headquarters in Juba ahead of their planned celebration of 16 days of activism at the boxing centre, argued that ladies would contribute immensely to breaking long-term gender stereotypes by entering the boxing ring.  

“Boxing is not a violent sport or just a men’s sport, as many people believe, but it is much more than that,” she said.

“It provides a platform for self-empowerment and personal improvement. Boxing can help women develop self-confidence, discipline, and resilience,” she said.

She said boxing holds great significance for women, as it provides them with opportunities for empowerment, self-expression, and physical fitness.

“It will help them feel physically stronger and better able to defend themselves, especially in countries like South Sudan where GBV against women is common,” she said.

She emphasised that women in boxing are breaking barriers and challenging gender stereotypes, making their mark in a traditionally male-dominated sport.

“They learn to push their limits, both mentally and physically, and overcome obstacles. Boxing teaches women to believe in themselves and their abilities.”

“As such, there is a need for young girls to join the boxing ring, and they claim the opportunities that they deserve,” she added.

The event on Thursday is organized by the South Sudan Boxing Federation and supported by UNFPA South Sudan.

Its major goal is to raise awareness about the issues that youths experience in sports, particularly in the boxing community.

It will also serve as a forum for female boxers to exhibit their accomplishments and harms, with the goal of defying biases and encouraging their participation.

Statistics show that the popularity of women’s boxing is on the rise. According to the International Boxing Association (AIBA), the number of registered female boxers has increased significantly in recent years.

This growth can be attributed to the increased visibility and recognition of women’s boxing at both amateur and professional levels.

The growing popularity of women’s boxing is a testament to its impact and the increasing number of women who are finding their place in the sport.