Rola El-Halabi in court, Photo: Axel Schmidt / dapd
Rola El-Halabi (11-0, 6-KOs) is 26 years old and had a full career ahead of her as an elite female professional fighter before her stepfather shot her in the hand, knee and foot in her dressing room prior to her fight against Irma Balijagic Adler of Bosnia for the vacant IBF lightweight title this past April.
El-Halabi, originally from Lebanon was the pride of Ulm, Germany when she defeated American fighter Mia St. John for the WIBA and WIBF Women’s Lightweight Titles in March of 2010. She subsequently returned her titles due to a domestic situation and had been away from the ring for a year.
Her promising career also ran afoul of her stepfather’s sense of honor which eventually led her to fire him as her manager back in January. He had allegedly vowed to put her in a wheelchair — and nearly did, though her tenacity and has seen her to face her attacker in a German court.
The showdown with her stepfather has led to a guilty verdict and a nearly seven-year sentence in prison.
While one speculates that this is vindication for the horrific attack against Rola El-Halabi, the fact remains the injuries she sustained have left their mark and she will likely never enter the ring again.
Sometimes when life is really, really busy and bogged down with minutia, it’s hard to see through the noise. We get so wrapped up that we find ourselves wrapped up in our wrappings. We don’t remember what our intentions were in the first place — and how to get to where we intended to go.
To place it terms of the ring, we get so hung up the business of boxing whether as an amateur, a pro or a Saturday boxer like myself, that we lose site of the work itself. We forget the lovely feeling of pushing our bodies to the limit; of feeling the grace of the fundamentals; and importantly remembering that being in the gym is a lot of fun.
I guess reading about Rola El-Halabi has upset me a lot — I cannot begin to imagine the dynamic that led to the horrific actions of her stepfather, but it does put me in mind to be very thankful indeed for the opportunities that I have, that many of us have, to be able to practice our sweet science in relative freedom.
So next time you’re feeling tied up in knots, take a deep breath and whether your passion is writing, boxing, running, cooking or throwing clay on the wheel — have a go at it again, only this time nice and slow so that you can remember just how wonderful a feeling it is to practice the thing that you love.
So what’s up with this: “Female boxer shot before fight” !?!
The AP wire had it this way, “German female boxer Rola El-Halabi‘s career is in doubt after she was shot by her stepfather and former manager before a title fight on Friday. The undefeated 25-year-old was preparing to fight Irma Balijagic Adler of Bosnia for the vacant IBF lightweight title, when the 44-year-old man entered her dressing room and shot her in the hand, knee and foot.” (link here & link here) Also shot were two security guards both of whom are expected to make a full recovery. Rola El-Halabi had reportedly ended her stepfather’s role as her manager back in January.
As WBAN points out, this is the second shooting of a female boxer, following on the horrific assault Christy Martin endured late last year. (link here)
Am I missing something here? I know people get shot, but this is really too much.
Girlboxing sends heart-felt wishes to Rola El-Halabi for a swift and full recovery.
Here’s a great video of Rola El-Halabi and Mia St. John from last year. This is really tragic.