Amaiya Zafar, 16, plans to keep training towards her goal of boxing stardom—even if current rules prevent the Muslim teen from wearing a hijab while she fights.
“When I first got the email by one of the officials that said, ‘You can’t fight unless you take [your hijab] off,’ I was really upset,” Zafar says in a video above, released by Fusion on Sunday (September 4). “Times change, and rules need to change with them.”
The Minnesota teen first made headlines late last year when her family and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) successfully implored USA Boxing, the national regulatory body for Olympic-style amateur boxing, to request a ruling from the Switzerland-based International Boxing Association (AIBA) about wearing hijabs in the ring. Current USA Boxing rules don’t permit boxers to wear the clothing that Zafar wears (a hijab and long-sleeved Under Armor shirt) in accordance with her faith; the governing body says the clothing is a safety hazard.
Zafar is still waiting for AIBA’s ruling. “I’m gonna train every single day as if I have a fight tomorrow, so that when they say I can fight, I’ll be ready,” she says.
Check out Fusion’s video above.