On International Day of the Girl, stylist.co.uk relocated to Blenheim High School, where a team of brilliant and opinionated girls aged 11 to 16 took over the website to have their say on the issues that matter most to them.
Here, 11-year-old Mia from Surrey explains why boxing is her favourite sport – and why it’s not just for boys.
I started boxing earlier this year, just after I turned 11. I knew I wanted to start an activity but I didn’t know what. At first I wanted to do karate, then guitar lessons, but I didn’t do either of them. Then my stepdad mentioned that he used to do boxing. I watched a video of a boxing match between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko on YouTube and I got really interested in it.
My stepdad knows someone who owns a gym near where I live. They do boxing lessons there so I signed up. It came to my first proper day and I walked in feeling anxious but excited to start.
But that all changed when I realised I was the only girl in the class. There were lots of boys and they were all with their friends, but I didn’t know anyone there. I really wanted to just leave, but I carried on and it was actually really fun. By the end of the lesson I felt proud of myself and I wanted to go back again.
Since I started boxing a few more girls have signed up to the club, but it’s still mostly boys. And I think this should be changed. Just because lots of people think that it’s a sport for boys doesn’t mean that girls can’t do it too.
I know that people think that woman and girls are not hard enough or capable enough to take a punch. But they are. And anyway, boxing isn’t just about taking a punch. If you train and you’re committed and you enjoy it, it’s also about rhythm, fitness and health. The footwork is almost like dancing.
Who inspires me?
Nicola Adams inspires me because of her sport success and her commitment. She is from Leeds, she is 35 years old and her nickname is The Lioness or Baby Face. She fights in the flyweight division and she was the first female boxer to represent England in a fight against an Irish boxer.
Nicola fought her first fight when she was just 13 (and won it). She recently won her fifth out of five fights when she beat the Mexican boxer Isabel Millan, and she won the gold medal in the Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016.
When I’m older I would like to carry on boxing, and I hope to see more female boxers. At the moment Nicola Adams is the most famous female boxer, and I would like to see more like her.
When I come out from my boxing lessons I feel like I can do anything and I feel like I can achieve anything, I’ve just got to believe in myself. I wish other girls could experience the same feeling. I think that if there were more examples of women and girls doing boxing, then it would inspire more girls to try it.
For more from Stylist’s Made By Girls special issue and digital takeover, click here.
Images: Sarah Cervantes, Unsplash / Getty Images