Fighting their way up – this is a Rocky-style story of young Moroccans following their dreams in the sport love. In the hope that boxing will help them leave their humble backgrounds behind. The regional qualifying round of the Moroccan amateur boxing championships is just weeks away and the young boxers at Casablanca’s Bateha club are training for the biggest bouts of their lives. Twenty-six year old Ridha Karikouri has a real chance of getting to the finals and even the national team. Twenty-four-year-old Mohammed Labyad, nickname Simo, has already quit his job and wants to turn professional. Fifteen-year-old Marwan Keroual has never yet had a competitive fight – but time is running out and he’s still too light to compete as a pimweight. Two young women boxers have contrasting fortunes – Oumaima El Kihel is a strong contender and wants to get to the finals; while Oumaima Haji doesn’t even know if she’ll make the weight. Overseeing them all is a 75 year-old former Moroccan featherweight champion, Saleh Rouman. A parking attendant in downtown Casablanca by day, he’s one of the foremost mentors of young boxing talent by night.

In Arabic and English

2019

By AL JAZEERA MEDIA NETWORK

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