Brazilian Ferreira aims for Olympic gold in women’s lightweight

Brazilian Ferreira aims for Olympic gold in women’s lightweight
Brazilian Ferreira aims for Olympic gold in women’s lightweight

By Dani Morera Trettin

SAO PAULO, July 10 (Reuters) – Beatriz Ferreira’s boxing career began in her family’s garage at the age of four.

Now, 27 years after first picking up the gloves, the Brazilian, daughter of two-time Brazilian boxing champion Raimundo Oliveira Ferreira, is the favourite to win gold at the 2024 Paris Olympics in the lightweight category.

His father, who grew up in a poor neighborhood of Salvador de Bahia (northern Brazil), transformed his garage into a makeshift gym.

“He would empty the garage, put up a punching bag and invite the neighborhood kids to train. It was his way of keeping us off the streets,” he told Reuters between fights at the Brazilian Boxing Federation’s training center.

Pursuing 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 that boxing had given me. I trained with the Olympic team, and it was a priceless experience,” he says.

Despite financial difficulties, 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 great honour. I learned what it means to be a high-performance athlete,” she says.

Ferreira is a four-time Brazilian champion, the first Brazilian to win a silver medal in an Olympic boxing competition, in Tokyo (2020), and a two-time world champion, in 2019 and 2023.

She admits, however, that there is still much to be done to achieve equality with men’s boxing.

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

(Report by Dani Morera. Edited in Spanish by Héctor Espinoza)

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