Ruqsana Begum, a British-Bangladeshi kickboxer and boxer, was a Muay Thai champion and the captain of the British Muay Thai team. However, she switched from professional kickboxing to boxing in 2018. Begum narrated the story of her life in an interview with The Guardian.
Ruqsana practised Muay Thai for five years secretly as she was afraid of her family's disapproval. She was forced to abandon Muay Thai when her parents arranged her marriage with a banker. Ruqsana's father-in-law was on dialysis. Therefore, she had to carry out the household duties with healthcare as well as her job as an unqualified architect. "I was oppressed. I didn't have the freedom to say: 'I'm feeling a bit tired so I'll do the washing in an hour', She said.
She was put under immense pressure and eight months later she collapsed one morning. She was diagnosed as suffering from severe panic attacks. She moved to her parents' house and in 2008 her husband filed for divorce.
"I was on antidepressants for four months and completely bedridden. The only thing I remembered enjoying was Muay Thai," said Ruqsana.
Her immense determination took her back to the gym. She broke down while speaking about the bullying she experienced from the other boxers there.
The boxer won several championships and accomplishments including the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur World Championship and World Kickboxing Association championship.
Ruqsana launched her new book called 'Born Fighter', which provides an absolutely fantastic insight into the hardships she overcame. It's mentioned in the book how she hid her passion for Thai boxing as many as five years. The harrowing experience of being torn between her responsibility and passion.
Now that she has switched to boxing, the 36-year old believes that she will become a world champion in this sport as well. "I'm hopeful. I feel like my story is bigger than boxing and these challenges will make me a better person. For me, it's nothing new. I've already gone through so many challenges in a different sport and in my life," Ruqsana said.
She believes that she can still become a success in her new sport of boxing despite the odds stacked against her. "I do love it. Stepping into the ring allows you to grow because you're putting yourself in such depths of fear. And when you overcome that there's such a sense of accomplishment. I love that and the fact I'm constantly working towards my goal, and progressing, even if I sometimes lose."