Welcome to our first edition of Bite Size Fights: a series where I break down recent women’s matches in the boxing world into bite size pieces for you! For our pilot episode, we’re breaking down the match between Ramla Ali vs. Crystal Garcia Nova. A match that made history! Before we get into the fight, let's meet the fighters!
Ramla Ali is 32 years old and has a pro record of 7-0. No stranger to making headlines, she was the first muslim women to ever win a championship in Great Britain. Ramla is the first woman from her home country of Somalia to become a professional boxer and the first Somali fighter to compete at the Olympics! Her opponent, Crystal Garcia Nova, is a 22 year old fighter from the Dominican Republic with a record of 10-3. Although she has more fights than Ramla, she is less known than Ali and has less headlines.
The fight was set to be held in Saudi Arabia, the first professional women's boxing match to ever be allowed to do so. Traditionally, authorities in the kingdom have placed restrictions on women's participation in sports, among other bans. Although it is said that “unprecedented”, progress has been seen in recent years for women's rights and sports in The Kingdom. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s vision 2030 has only just now allowed physical education to be taught to girls in school.
When the bell rang, the two women showed up and showed out in the ring. As this was the first ever women’s boxing event held in Saudi Arabia, they knew they had something to prove, not just to the Saudi authorities but also to all the young female athletes watching, wondering if that could be them on the big stage. And prove it they did. The fight was over in a minute and five seconds when Ali landed a strong right hook on Nova's jaw that sent her mouth guard flying, causing her to fall to her knees. The fight was called, Ali won by knockout!
To celebrate the win, Ali said she will be taking some time off to rest. For her past two fights she's been fighting and training with a fractured wrist and toe. However, in her opinion, this was too big of an opportunity to miss out on, so she pushed through the pain. Once she recovers fully, her next goal is the world championships in 2023, where she is favored to win.
Nova took the loss with grace. Though, no matter who won, neither woman would lose as they both made their mark in women’s boxing history. As Nova said best, “It’s [this match] a message to all young women that boxing is not only for men, boxing is also for women. And I can go far. And if I can go far, everybody, all the women in the world can learn boxing and can go far and go up in this game.” -Crystal Garcia Nova