The International Boxing Association (IBA) Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul has already seen exciting prospects make an impact on the world stage, but none more so than Cindy Ngamba. She defeated two-time Women’s World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain in a dominant display, claiming a 4-1 decision victory in the round of 16 bout. However, Ngamba fell just short in her bid to become the first Fair Chance Team member to fight for a medal, losing a closely contested fight 3-2 on the judges’ scorecards in her quarter-final bout against Alcinda Helena Panguana from Mozambique.
Ngamba has been supported by IBA as a member of the Fair Chance Team initiative in preparation for the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. The Fair Chance Team was created in response to growing displacement and global humanitarian crises. However, the project aims to support all talented boxers who may not be in their native countries or may not be able to represent those countries due to various reasons. The Fair Chance Team competed for the first time at the Men’s World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia at the end of October 2021.
Speaking to IBA in the aftermath of her triumph, Ngamba said, “I am proud, very proud. There was a member of the Fair Chance Team who fought on Tuesday. I saw she lost, and I said to her I was going to leave my mark on this event to let the world know about the Fair Chance Team, but also to show my gratitude for the opportunity I have been given to compete in this major event.”
She went on to explain why it was important for those competing under the Fair Chance Team banner to perform well in Istanbul: “It’s important for the next generation to see members of the Fair Chance Team doing well. It gives them the motivation to keep fighting for their dreams, knowing that they can achieve great success. The people that represent Fair Chance Team next will say ‘there was a woman from the Fair Chance Team, and she beat an Olympic bronze medallist.’ The Fair Chance Team believed in me, and this helped me believe in myself.”
The success of fighters like Ngamba reinforces the importance of programmes that provide talented fighters with the opportunity to compete against the best, regardless of the ongoing issues in their home countries.