Ruqsana Begum started her career in sport by taking up kickboxing. She then decided to give the world of Boxing a stab, where she turned professional a couple of years ago. She has also found time in her busy schedule to write a book about her life time experiences.
Like everybody, Ruqsana has found lockdown tricky to adapt to at first.
“It was challenging at the beginning of course, not being able to get into the gym, not having the same facilities, adapting to a new style of life, training at the park, but I’ve really enjoyed going back to basics, finding different ways of supporting my training and going back to grass roots and focusing my all on the simple things.” she said.
Ruqsana was a very sport girl at a young age, playing a host of different sports, but eventually decided to give kickboxing a go.
“I pretty much loved most sport and I remember watching Bruce Lee when I was young growing up and I was absolutely fascinated by marshall arts and when I actually took part and participated it challenged me more than any other sport because it’s not a team sport as you are there on your own in the ring and you have to be hundred per cent present and you have to be focused otherwise you are going to get hurt really badly, so it allowed me to strategize. It was a fantastic way of growing up and developing myself for me as a teenage girl into a woman and the sport really taught me life skills.” she said.
She became the first British Muslim women to win a world title at kickboxing.
“To be honest even know I pinch myself, because I have had an incredible journey and I look back and sometimes I can’t believe the obstacles that I overcame, given the fact that I suffered from ME especially during and before the fight. I didn’t even know if I was going to walk into the ring.”
“My coach was really afraid for me and I said to him give me one round and if things go badly you can throw in the towel. So in the back of my head I had a plan B, that nothing is worth risking my life for, but at the same time I knew this opportunity will never come again and I believed in myself and my strength and with faith you can move mountains.” she said.
She eventually decided to venture into the world of boxing.
“I was no longer being challenged in kickboxing and I felt once you have climbed one mountain you should try a different mountain and boxing gave me that. Boxing stimulated me in a way that I haven’t been stimulated before, and also something that my younger brother said to me, I remember sitting in the car and my father was in the car too and he said we have got Amir Khan as a role model for people from ethnic backgrounds, but we don’t have a female, and then I thought to myself how many people could I inspire just walking into that ring, just taking that next step and that really resonated with me because I felt that that is my purpose in life, not just to win but to be a role model and embrace challenges.” she said.
She made her professional boxing debut in 2018, and she will always remember her first bout.
“It was amazing, to be signed to David Haye and to be on a platform such as Channel 5 and on my debut with only two months of boxing training, it was amazing with the reception that I got, the support, it was just amazing. I’m living the dream; I can’t complain as I love the challenge. The fact that I got a draw it never really fazed me because I felt that I won the fight, however I said to my coach this is good as it means I am not complacent and anything worth having in life you have to work and endure and that’s what builds character.” she said.
Ruqsana has also recently written a book about her experiences in life.
“When I first became a British champion I thought it would be incredible to share my story to empower woman to people with me, depression, cultural boundaries, religious boundaries, so many breaking down boundaries was the theme of my book and overcoming all of those obstacles and I want to shine a light on obstacles are not set in stone, they are there to be overcome. There is always a silver lining.” she said.
Born Fighter by Ruqsana Begum, is published by Simon & Schuster
Interview with Ruqsana Begum