English film director David Leon creates a moving portrait of British-Bangladeshi Muay Thai fighter Ruqsana Begum in a short film for NOWNESS‘s “Endurance Test” series. Ruqsana is the only female Muslim national Muay Thai boxer and has been pushing for Muslim women in sport since first stepping into the ring at age 18. Last year, she launched her own range of Lycra hijabs, too.
The four-minute visual explores the limits of the mind and body of a professional fighter and follows Ruqsana in and out of the ring. “I was looking for a strong woman with a story worth telling when I came across Ruqsana. A world-class Muslim woman Muay Thai fighter—an anomaly in a sport dominated by men—to me she embodies every aspect of what inspiration should be,” says David Leon. “She has overcome racial, social and religious stereotypes and conventions to compete at the world level in a sport for which there is no glamor, no remuneration and no lucrative endorsement deals.”
Check out the video above and for more boxing content, VIER dropped a gritty Muay Thai-inspired Spring/Summer 2018 collection.