One for granny

Boxer, Tanzeela Raza trains at the BOXFIT gym and training centre in Toorak, Suva yesterday. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Tanzeela Raza comes from a family of boxers. So it is no wonder that the 16-year-old took a liking to the sport from a young age.

This Saturday, the Nadi Sangam College student will take to the ring against Laite Nanovu in an amateur during the Lewis Hill Boxing Promotion ‘Homecoming’ event at the FMF Gymnasium in Suva.

Watching from ringside will be her biggest fan – grandmother and the matriarch of famous Ali boxing stable Deya Wanti. Raza is the niece of the late Fiji boxing champion Zulfikar ‘Joy’ Ali.

Raza says it was Wanti who encouraged her to take up boxing and the reason she will go out hard to claim a win against Nanovu.

“For me, my grandmother pushed me into boxing. When my grandfather (Farzan Ali Sr) passed away, I got disheartened. Then my grandmother really inspired me,” she said while training at the BoxFit centre in Suva yesterday.

“I am the first from the Ali family, the first female to step into the ring. My grandmother means a lot to me as she has raised me.

“She still pushes me to my limits, taking me through the hard rounds. She stays around when I train, telling me what is right and what is not, supporting me all the way.

“This fight will be for my grandmother, my grandfather and my late uncle Joy Ali.”

The bout against Nanovu will be Raza’s third after recording two wins, something she aims to keep.

“I have been preparing well as I have been training with my cousin Nikesh (Prasad). I am really looking forward to this bout because I have two wins and I want to keep that winning streak.

“For Laite, I have seen her fights, I have seen videos of her training. For me I am confident enough and I will be putting on a good show.”

She called on boxing fans to come out on Saturday and support women’s participation in the sport.

Tickets – $50 VIP seats, grandstand $30 children $15. Gates open at 3pm. Fights start at 4pm.

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