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Ruqsana Begum - World's first female Muslim boxing champion.

Michelle Griffith-Robinson - Former GB Olympian, wife, mother of 3, lifestyle coach, personal trainer and Ambassador for Diabetes UK

As a young woman from a Bangladeshi, Muslim family, Ruqsana struggled for years to balance her faith and culture with the fast, furious and brutal sport she fell in love with - even hiding her trophies. Now she's fighting to help other young Muslim women to find their own balance between fitness and faith.

Ruqsana's story is a tale of empowerment that will inspire anyone who has ever had to battle against the odds and against all the opposition to achieve their goal.

With the reluctant blessing of her parents, she completed a long journey to the top, battling against prejudice, depression, panic attacks and ME.

A role model to many, she was part of the Adidas Here to Create campaign and Karen Millen's #WomenWhoCan campaign.

You can listen to Ruqsana on the Tough Girl Podcast - new episodes are every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time, make sure you hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss out. The tough girl podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons. To find out more about supporting your favourite podcast and becoming a patron please check out


Listen to Ruqsana Now!

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Show notes

  • Who Ruqsana is

  • Growing up watching Bruce Lee and being fascinated by the martial arts

  • Getting into kickboxing at 18 years old

  • Growing up in London in a muslim family

  • 36 years old and growing up in the 80s

  • Being restricted in what she could do

  • Discovering kickboxing while at college

  • Studying Architecture at university

  • Training in a mixed gym

  • What she loved about going to the gym

  • Wearing a hijab to the gym

  • Having the conversation with her parents

  • Having an arranged marriage

  • Dealing with panic attacks and depression

  • Being suppressed in her marriage

  • Becoming numb and how sports changed her life

  • Discussing mental health issues

  • Having the support of her GP

  • Dealing with Chronic Fatigue and ME

  • Napping during the day

  • Starting to fight professionally in 2008

  • Going for the British Title!!

  • The Warrior Princess

  • What it was like getting into the ring

  • Starting to master her own fears and emotions

  • Is she a born fighter…

  • Being supported by her parents

  • Religion and fighting

  • The legalities of wearing a hijab when competing

  • Not being allowed to wear leggings

  • Designing a hijab for muslim women to wear while doing sports

  • Becoming the World Kick Boxing Champion!

  • Having nothing left in the 4th round

  • Mental resilience and mental toughness

  • Making the transition from kickboxing to boxing in January 2018

  • Funding her lifestyle as a professional athlete

  • Writing her book - Born Fighter

  • Handling the negative people

  • Why other peoples opinion of you don’t matter

  • Her dream to become a world champion in boxing

  • Wanting to inspire people

  • Final words of advice for other women going through challenging times


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