DUBAI: The UAE’s first ever women’s boxing world title fight is set to take place between Urvashi Singh of India and Halima Vunjabei of Tanzania for the vacant Women’s International Boxing Association super bantamweight belt at Dubai’s Conrad Hotel on Saturday.
The event, promoted by DJMC Events and international matchmaker Roshan Nathanial, will also showcase fighters from the Philippines, India, Pakistan, the UK, Armenia, Turkey, Argentina, the US and Thailand.
“I am really excited for my upcoming world title fight on Saturday. It is a big opportunity for me as a female but also as an Indian boxer,” said Singh.
“I am lucky to be supported by DJMC Events who are not just promoting male boxers, but they have gotten behind me as a boxer because they believe in my skillset and my future.”
Singh’s bout will co-headline the event alongside the bout between Justine Darap of the Philippines and Kazakh-Chinese fighter Yelshat Nikhemttolla, with a highly anticipated India vs Pakistan clash for the WBC Asia continental lightweight title featuring Sachin Dekwal vs Muhammad Bilal also taking place.
The event includes two other female bouts — a first for the UAE: Britain’s Kimberley Shannon takes on Kaumini Hashini of Sri Lanka, while Armenia’s Annie Aroyan faces Saranyaphong Theinthong of Thailand.
Singh has a chance to make history on Saturday, and has been sparring at Real Boxing Only gym in Al-Quoz with fellow Dubai-based fighters Shannon and Aroyan.
“My camp here has been great as I have been surrounded by other female fighters for good sparring … and working together. All three of us are fighting this Saturday,” Singh said.
“My goal is to win this fight as I will be the first female Indian world champion boxer in history. This is a significant moment for me,” added Singh, who has a record of 8-3-0 with five knockouts.
“I will then move in world rankings and I will pursue all the world titles, making a name for myself and my country.’
The organizers of the event believe they are creating a unique boxing environment for local fighters in general, and female ones in particular.
“We want to support local and international talent on our series ‘Countdown to the Middle East Crown’,” said DJMC Events Chairman Dunstan Paul Rozairo.
“The platform we have created is unlike others. We are looking to make Dubai the boxing hub of the Middle East, whilst also changing the way people think of this sport in the region,” he added.
“It gives boxers from any background a fighting chance to compete in Dubai, in front of international audiences, across TV networks and on an unbiased platform. But most importantly, I want to highlight that we are equal opportunists,” said Rozairo.
“Giving women the same chances, pay and opportunities as men is at the core of DJMC Events … This card is over one-third female bouts, and I see that growing every show.”
Most promoters “don’t have any female fights or just a single token female bout,” he said, adding: “As the series progresses this year, we already have exciting boxers from the four corners who are interested to be a part of the future series, some big names I hope to announce this year, sure to draw in a crowd and excite even the non-avid boxing fans.”