Woman Warriors Win in the Ring

SA's first female Thaiboxing fight promoter Rayana Ameeroedien (second from Left) with three of the fighters just before Saturday's first all-women's Thaiboxing event, in Cape Town.
The first “Fight Girls” South Africa All-Women’s Thaiboxing tournament held in Cape Town on Saturday 4th August was a huge success, with women from all over the country competing in this special event, adding to the profile of the Thaiboxing sport, and South Africa’s talented women fighters.

“I am thrilled at the success of the first Fight Girls SA tournament!” said Fight Girls SA promoter Rayana Ameeroedien. “I was happy to see that the excitement during the tournament had spectators at the edge of their seats! The fighters impressed spectators with their toughness and confidence in the ring.”

The atmosphere inside the arena was filled with excitement, as one by one the women made their appearances in the ring to battle it out with evenly-matched opponents, who wanted nothing than to see blood and ensure their own victory. For many it was a first to witness women fighting in a full-contact sport.
“It was important to me that the women selected to fight on this bill were skillful and humble with good attitudes in and out of the ring. In the future they will be seen as role models.
“The best part was that none of the fights were predictable”, continued Ameeroedien: “The fighters were evenly matched and that was what made it so exciting to watch.”
The event opened with an impressive ‘Muay Baron’ exhibition (ancient Muay Thai) fight from Ray’s Kickboxing Academy’s Ilhaam Sayed and Nabeehah Sayed, and the crowd cheered their support as the girls demonstrated beautiful attacking and defence skills of this ancient art form.
Then it was the two junior fights: Gabriella Drewery from Cape Town took on Port Elizabeth’s Carly van Welleng in an exciting three-round bout, in which both girls gave everything they had, but Van Welleng won a close victory over her opponent as they both finished exhausted.
The second fight saw Cape Town’s Shannon Dutton face PE’s Noloyiso Gadeni. Both girls were extremely aggressive but it was Gadeni who took the victory in the end.
An exciting match-up between Cape Town’s Nabeehah Sayed and Mari-Louise van Staden (Pretoria) set the tone for the fights that followed.
Van Staden came out firing with powerful push kicks, and Sayed countered with well-timed jabs and wide hooks, but it was Van Staden who clearly had the height- and experience advantage over her foe.
SA's first female Thaiboxing fight promoter Rayana Ameeroedien (second from Left) with three of the fighters just before Saturday's first all-women's Thaiboxing event, in Cape Town.
Appearing to be the underdog at first, Sayed attacked with great combinations, and tried to stay close to her opponent who towered over her.
Then Sayed shook Van Staden up a bit in the second round, with a few shots in the face, but the Gauteng figher answered with push kicks to the body.
Eventually Van Staden was crowned winner on points after a fantastic fight in which both fighters exhibited great skill, but the feisty Sayed had clearly won over the crowd with her brave warrior spirit.
The fourth bout saw a combination of great skill and experience from Ronelle Williams (Cape Town) and Xania Brink from Pretoria, and it didn’t take these two long to climb into each other, with the crowd roaring loudly as the punches came strong and fast.
Brink turned out to be a tough opponent with awesome punching power, but it was the powerful body kicks from Williams that earned her the victory in their three-round battle.
The fifth and final fight was the main bout of the day: The eagerly-anticipated match-up between the well-composed Ferial Ameeroedien and the hungry Kerry Grey in the most exciting fight on the day’s programme.
With both Cape Town women bringing a wealth of experience into the ring, the crowd went wild with excitement when the fighters made their way to the ring.
The first round saw the women feeling each other out cautiously, with Gry throwing impressive kicks to the body, while Ameeroedien utilised great blocking skills to answer with powerful knee strikes to the head.
The first two rounds were clearly dominated by Ameeroedien, whose handspeed, mobility and powerful low kicks gave her the edge over her opponent.
Then the third round saw Grey coming out hard, trying to knock her opponent out with strong punches to the face and body, but Ameeroedien stood her ground and fought smartly with good counters and evasions in her effort to drive home a win over the formiddable Grey.
But in a controversial twist, the judges awarded the victory to Grey, who was ecstatic to hear the announcement. Ameeroedien gracefully accepted the loss and retreated after wishing her opponent well.
“The tournament attracted a lot of media attention and it was great to have photographers and reporters lined up for interviews with the fighters and myself,” Ameeroedien said afterwards.
“First timers to the fight scene arena were shocked at how these feminine (and attractive) females with nerves of steel handled themselves in full contact fighting.
“This is only the beginning,” warned Ameeroedien in her conclusion. “South Africa get ready to rumble! Watch this space for more details on Fight Girls South Africa events!”
*Watch out for Fight Girls highlights on SABC 2’s Women in Sport on Saturday, between 11:30am and 12:30pm, and on The Warriors on Sunday at 2pm. 
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gsport Newsroom

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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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