Tomorrow night, the whole of Singapore will be watching with bated breath as local pugilist Ridhwan The Chosen Wan takes to the ring in his quest for a world title.
But, another story will also be taking place on the same night just a few hours before The Chosen Wan’s fight. The protagonist in that story is 27-year-old Efasha “The Face” Kamarudin.
A former amateur boxer with the national team, Efasha recently turned professional and will be making her debut at Roar of Singapore 4 against Thai fighter Sumalee Tongpootorn.
We chat with “The Face” and ask her about the local boxing scene, the reason for her nickname and what the former childhood educator hopes to achieve in the sweet science.
Why did you decide to turn professional?
I wanted something new. I’m done with amateur boxing honestly. I feel like I cannot take a step further or go for international fights without turning professional. No disrespect to the amateur boxing scene but there are no funds to push the fighters further, so I knew I had to turn professional.
Is there a goal in mind for you as a professional boxer?
Honestly, no. I just fight because I like to fight. But if there is an opportunity for a belt in the future, I’ll take it. I just want to take it one step at a time. My manager objectively thinks that I have the potential to be a world champion, so let’s see.
What’s your training like?
For this fight, we did strength and conditioning (S&C) for two months. No boxing at all. Then I transitioned a bit to boxing, and in between S&C and boxing, I started my roadwork. After that, it was pure boxing. The overall training regime has been close to five months inclusive of S&C but the fight camp itself, the tough part of the entire process, took about 12 weeks.
How did your parents think about you turning professional?
My parents have been very supportive; they were the ones who got me into boxing after all. But, when I turned pro, there were two perspectives. My mum wanted me to stay in the amateur scene and help to grow it because if I leave the amateur scene, there would be no more women left.
My dad was very supportive of my decision because he wants to see me develop into a better boxer and be on a bigger stage.
My initial plan was to turn pro when I turned 30 but my manager told me to turn pro now because 30 might be too old.
Are you worried about the finances?
Of course. It’s my biggest worry, especially since I’m one of the rare few local women who is fighting for a living. I do hope to get more sponsors but I know this is my first professional fight, so most people haven’t seen me on the world stage yet.
Do you get tired about being asked about being a female in boxing?
Yes, I do. People like to observe my physical appearance more, or pass comments about my face. Or they ask me why I don’t put on makeup. I mean… men don’t get asked about this, so why me? If I could, I would ask them to mind their own business and to shut the **** up. (laughs)
During weight cuts, they will remark on my weight loss or gain, etc. They will ask if I’m tired or sick. It’s very frustrating to keep getting comments on my physical appearance. I would rather they just focus on my boxing skills.
We’re just athletes. We’re just like everyone else.
Why are you The Face?
I thought it was multi-faceted, you know. There are many ways to interpret the nickname. I can be the face of the women’s boxing scene, or about giving face, or saving face. It’s a versatile name and I can change the meaning based on the situation at that time.
Final question: what’s your prediction for the fight?
My initial prediction was Round 2 TKO but after I thought about it, I think I want to enjoy four rounds. I trained for so long that I want to stay in the ring longer (laughs).
The Roar Of Singapore IV — “The Night Of Champions” happens tomorrow at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Get your tickets here.