Rayana Ameeroedien: Thaiboxing Promoter

South Africa’s only female Thaiboxing promotor and reigning Bantamweight Thaiboxing Champion, Cape Town’s Rayana Ameeroedien taking a break on the beach in a shoot for DStv’s Kwela, with Peter Koen.
My name is Rayana Ameeroedien; professional Kickboxer and current South African Bantamweight Thaiboxing Champion.
I started training in the sport of Thaiboxing (or ‘Muay Thai’, similar to Kickboxing, but where you get to use your knees and elbows in fighting) to get fit and build confidence. I’ve gained so much more in my years as a Thaiboxer and now I have the opportunity to share my knowledge with others.

South Africa’s only female Thaiboxing promotor and reigning Bantamweight Thaiboxing Champion, Cape Town’s Rayana Ameeroedien taking a break on the beach in a shoot for DStv’s Kwela, with Peter Koen.As a fighter I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to travel and train in some of the best Thaiboxing gyms in the world. I’ve had some of my best training experiences in Thailand, where Thaiboxing is the National sport.
I met former World Champion Mike Bernardo while studying Psychology at the University of the Western Cape; and I then decided to take my training to the next level and started full contact fighting at the age of 18.
In 2001 I won the South African title and from then I was hooked. In 2002 I started coaching and opened Ray’s Kickboxing Academy (RKA) in Wynberg, Cape Town. Since then I’ve trained hundreds of men and women who enjoy the many benefits Thaiboxing has to offer.
Most women use the sport as a form of self defence and to build self esteem, then you have the few who enjoy getting into the ring to fight. The crazy few like me who enjoy the adrenaline rush of full contact fighting.
I am happy to say that the RKA fighters (male and female) are doing exceptionally well on the South African competitive circuit – four of my fighters have been selected to represent Western Province at the SA Champs to be held in Johannesburg in September this year.
'Sugar Ray’ Ameeroedien, striking a lethal pose, believes that Thaiboxing can make a change in the lives of South Africa’s women and children.
The academy also offers coaching for children who learn discipline and respect. Currently I am approaching schools with the hope that they will implement my Kickboxing and Life Skills Programme with which our main goal is to teach self defence and create an awareness of safety amongst the learners.
My instructors and I also teach children in townships including Imizamo Yethu, an informal settlement in Hout Bay. I am encouraged in my coaching by the positive effect the lessons are having on these children.
In 2006 I was nominated as a finalist in the ‘Extraordinary Women’ Awards hosted by the City of Cape Town. Last year I was voted one of Cosmopolitan magazine’s ’30 most Awesome Women’.
I received my promoter’s licence in July 2006, becoming the first female promoter in the fighting industry and in Thaiboxing in South Africa.
450In hosting amateur and professional tournaments, my goal is to give my sport exposure and fighters opportunities to compete at good quality events. With these events I also aim to create an awareness of important social issues like violence against women and children.
I want to inspire other women in vulnerable situations to stand up for themselves not only physically but emotionally. For this reason my team wears T-shirts with the slogan “WOMEN STAND UP” on their backs.
Being a female in the fight industry is not always easy but I enjoy every aspect of my work. I will always strive to be better and meet with challenges head on.
My next event “FIGHT GIRLS” takes place on 4th August in Cape Town in celebration of National Womens’ Day and all women fighters. The fighters participating are from all over SA and most of them are surprisingly pretty, but tough!
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Launched in 2006, gsport exists to enhance the commercial prospects of our women athletes, and other women in sport, by telling the inspiring story of SA women in sport. Thank you for your contribution!

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