Boxing: A Choice Or Faux Pas For Women?

When we think about boxing, the first thing that comes into our minds are the names of famous boxers throughout history; Manny Pacquiao, Mike Tyson, and Muhammad Ali. Although boxing is primarily thought as a male-dominated sport, it actually has its fair share of female boxers who are equally talented. Laila Ali is the daughter of the late heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali. She made her father proud by winning several world championship titles and held a record of 21 impressive knockouts. Cecilia Brækhus has been the undisputed female welterweight champion since 2014 and was the first woman in any weight class to hold major welterweight titles.

A woman kisses her boxing gloves enthusiastically.
Boxing has opened up many possibilities for women to achieve in their career, lifestyle and fitness goals.
Source: Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Kickstarting A Fitness Goal

In the beginning, I never thought that boxing was a suitable sport for women to practise. I found the sport to be rather intimidating, even inadequate, because it restricted movement and required a hunched stance.

Fitness had always been a goal of mine. Unfortunately, I had to put it on hold when I was diagnosed with mild scoliosis at the lumbar region. It caused persistent chronic pain in my lower back, and I couldn’t walk or sit without experiencing aches. Even standing for a few minutes felt uncomfortable. It was a huge nuisance!

However, I did not want to let this stop me. My physiotherapist advised that I exercise regularly to strengthen my back muscles so I could regain full movement again. While I slowly built up my back strength through swimming and yoga classes, I really wanted to join a group class where everyone could train together and motivate each other.

Moving Forward, Choosing Boxing

Late 2019, I had gone through a rough patch after cutting ties with a close friend. We were friends for nearly seven years, but it was time for us to go our separate paths. It was not an easy process and I lost a vital part of myself. I felt lost and insecure and searched for something that would allow me to re-discover myself. This meant exploring something that I wouldn’t naturally do, as foreign as it felt to me.

Therefore, it seemed fitting when I stumbled upon Angie Lim’s page, a female boxer on Instagram. She had her fair share of competing and sparring in boxing competitions, but what really caught my attention was how she conducted classes for women only.

The coach is teaching her students how to execute a jab in boxing.
Coach Angie demonstrating to her students on how to execute a proper jab technique.
Source: Angie Lim’s Instagram

The videos on her page showed various drills and boxing techniques executed by several women. Most of them looked to be around mid-20’s, others older, but all of them weren’t afraid to deliver a punch. I immediately knew that if I wanted to do something that would push me out of my comfort zone, this would be it.

Gaining A Fresh Perspective

The first class itself gave me a new perspective on boxing.

Despite our awkward first attempts on throwing punches, Angie patiently guided us step-by-step, correcting posture, footing and stance. She was aware of our rather subpar levels of fitness and readjusted the drills to accommodate our pace. I had enough time to get used to the exercise without feeling completely run over.

From the first time I met her, it was evident that Angie treated boxing as something more than a simple hobby. It wasn’t just a passion, it was a commitment and lifestyle she dedicated herself to. She believed that women could be empowered to reach their fitness goals through boxing and build their self-confidence in the process.

She is sparring in the ring for a boxing competition.
Angie Lim (right) competing in the Lekir Fight Championship Amateur Category that took place on 19 August, 2018.
Source: Angie Lim’s Instagram

She also believed that every woman had their own learning capability with unlimited potential, and therefore could master boxing with the right guidance and mentor. It was a simple sentiment, but executed with such confidence, that I couldn’t help believing it too.

From Boxer To Coach

Having competed for two years and trained for four, Angie was the only female boxer in her gym. However, that never deterred her progress — if anything, it spurred her to train harder.

During this time, she came across numerous women stating they wanted to work out, but were too shy and afraid to step into the gym. Many expressed their desire to learn self-defence, but were not confident enough.

The coach is teaching her students how to box in class.
Angie (front) leading one of her classes, where she coaches women on boxing techniques to improve their stamina and self-confidence.
Source: Angie Lim’s Instagram
The coach posing with her students for a picture.
Angie Lim with her students (from left: Angie, Teemay, Rachel, Harmony, Elaine and Fatin). Source: Angie Lim’s Instagram

Sensing a huge potential in these women, Angie decided to tap into it. She started coaching part-time in 2018, with open slots on weekends. Once she had stabilised her income after a few months, she took bigger risks, quitting her full-time job and opening her schedule six days a week to provide personal training as well as group classes.

Executing Confidence And Technique

I found her classes to be challenging, yet fun. She knew how to exert the right amount of pressure and motivation without pushing too hard. I never got bored of the same routine in her class as there was something new every week. One week we would be practising padwork, another week working on abs, and the next on boxing techniques.

Each class left me feeling invigorated and energised. We learned strengthening exercises and the seven forms of stretching that could relieve post-workout aches. These helped to strengthen my back muscles and loosen stiff joints. My insecurities slowly dissipated as I gained better control and speed over my movements. Any thoughts of the past were relinquished as I focused on dodging and practising counter-punches in the present.

I once thought this was impossible to achieve, but proved myself wrong. Women are capable of many things. That awareness is what keeps us going and pushing, because we know we can take it.

Boxing Classes And Coaching For Women

Does this interest you? If you have thoughts on signing up but have no experience with boxing or any kind of fitness training, do not worry. Angie promises that her classes are not as vigorous as training bootcamps or martial arts gym. In fact, she mostly coaches ladies with minimal fitness experience, as watching them progress and improve over time is a very fulfilling experience to her.

Contact Angie Lim at +6011-3376 6243 to sign up for a class. Alternatively, you can check out her classes at her Instagram page, La Femme Asia.

If you suffer from any body injuries, check out this manual physiotherapy.

About Tee May TAN

Mass Comm graduate, with a passion to write and tell stories, Tee May believes that everybody has a story to tell. She's just waiting for the opportunity to volunteer her writing services. Firm believer in the "Work Hard, Play Hard" mantra, and has a high energy personality to match.

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