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Boxing-Brazilian aims for Olympic gold in women’s lightweight

Brazilian boxer Beatriz Ferreira aims for Olympic gold in women's lightweight

By Dani Morera Trettin

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Beatriz Ferreira’s journey in boxing began in her family’s garage at the age of four.

Now, 27 years after first picking up the gloves, the Brazilian, daughter of twice Brazil boxing champion Raimundo Oliveira Ferreira, is the favourite to win gold at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in the lightweight category.

Growing up in a poor neighbourhood of Salvador in the northern Brazilian state of Bahia, her father transformed their garage into a makeshift gym.

“He cleared out the garage, set up a punching bag, and invited neighbourhood kids to train. It was his way of keeping us off the streets,” she told Reuters between sparring at the Brazilian Boxing Federation training centre.

In pursuit of her dreams, she moved to Sao Paulo to train with the Olympic team.

“I didn’t know anyone in Sao Paulo, but I had a dream and the money boxing had earned me. I trained with the Olympic team, which was an invaluable experience,” she recounts.

Despite financial hardship, she persisted, even when her money ran out. Her dedication paid off when she was invited to be a reserve for the Olympic team.

“It was a huge honour. I learned what it meant to be a high-performance athlete,” she said.

Ferreira has achieved remarkable heights on her journey.

She is a four-time Brazilian championship winner, the first Brazilian women to achieve a silver medal at an Olympic boxing competition, in Tokyo (2020), and twice World Champion in 2019 and 2023.

Ferreira has fiercely advocated for women’s boxing.

“In 2016, there were only three women’s categories. Now, there are six,” she said. “Women’s boxing has come a long way.”

She acknowledges, however, that there is still a lot to do to achieve equality with men’s boxing.

“It’s about persistence. If you live with doubt, you’ll never know if you could have succeeded,” she said. “For me, winning an Olympic gold would be the ultimate validation of my journey.”

(Reporting by Dani Morera; Editing by Toby Davis)

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