Ramla Ali, who left her native Somalia as a child and came to England, has a very firm goal — to become the first boxer (male or female) to represent Somalia at the 2020 Olympics.
Ramla Ali first started to kickbox when she was fourteen, upon her mother’s gentle support to lose weight via exercise, which led to her joining a top boxing gym in the UK. Once there, a coach saw Ramla’s potential, and suggested she should compete. “Up until that point I’d never thought about it but I thought, why not give it a go?” she says. “And then I won my first fight. You can’t describe the feeling to a person who hasn’t felt it before. I was just hooked.”
Ramla is from an observant Muslim family and says her mother initially had reservations about her daughter boxing, concerned what the family back in Somalia might think. But after appearing on Somali television and speaking of her goal to compete in the Olympics, Ramla’s Somalian uncle soon reached out to her. “He called me and told me how proud he was and how it broke his heart I had to hide it for so long,” says the boxer.
On the horizon for Ramla is competing in various Box cups and small matches. In 2019, Ramla will box in the All-Africa Games, followed by the African Confederation Boxing Championships. And in 2020, the qualifiers for Africa… and hopefully, the Olympics!