Nurshahidah “The Sniper” Roslie came into the spotlight when she became Singapore’s first female professional boxer, winning both her professional fights at the Singapore Fighting Championship earlier this year. Tonight, Jun 10, the 28 year-old is headlining SFC 3: The Next Chapter, where she hopes to win the Universal Boxing Organisation (UBO) Female Inter-Continental Super Featherweight belt. Here she tells us how she got started, what its like training while you’re fasting and what her family thinks of her unconventional career.
As a child, I enjoyed P.E. lessons and sweating it out with the boys during recess. I also played soccer and basketball. When I took up taekwondo, I wanted to try out for the national team but after getting my black belt, I felt very stagnant. I didn’t see myself progressing further.
For a school project, I had to observe a kickboxing coach. Along the way, I learned about the sport, picked it up and grew to like it. Later, I switched from kickboxing to boxing, and I actually took up classes with that coach I was observing and trained for two years under him.
During my first boxing match, I was up against girls who were trained by Arvind “The Juggernaut” Lalwani, and I won. The following week, my coach closed down the group and introduced us to Fightworks Asia, where Arvind was teaching at that time. He’s been coaching me since, now under the Juggernaut Fight Club.
One question I get asked a lot by my relatives is, “Is it not painful?” And I’ll say that it’s not as bad as it looks. They’re more concerned about my safety, but they’re proud of me when they hear my name in the news.
I wanted a ring name that started with the letter S, and it was difficult finding one which relates to boxing.
The Sniper is a perfect fit for me. I watched my old fight videos, and I noticed that I have really long arms. Snipers are long range weapons, so I thought it would fit nicely. Then I also realized that when I’m fighting, I tend to wait, probably so I don’t tire myself out, and I go for clean shots.
It’s very difficult to get people to support you, and when you go out there and invite people to watch your fight, most would think twice about spending money to go. Financial support is scarce in a sense. Most people would then think twice and go for a secure job, even if it’s not what they really want to do.
For a period of time, I stopped. I had no drive, maybe because I was burned out from training and not getting any competitions. A friend introduced me to a coach in Genesis Gym who helped me tweak my diet and placed me in weights training. He made sure that I felt good about myself again and shortly after, I had a fight and I won. That sparked the fire in me again.
Boxing has been quiet for a very long time, and we need to build up the hype. Everyone’s talking about MMA [mixed martial arts]. Even when I tell people that I’m a boxer, they’d ask if I do MMA. So there’s still a lot to be done.
I want to be known as someone who paved the way for female boxing in Singapore. If I can’t earn the thousands and millions now, at least I’ll have paved a way so that other female boxers know that they can go further if they train hard. There are opportunities out there, and that’s what I’m trying to prove at the moment. As long as you treat it as a proper career, like any other career, you can make a living out of it.
If a student I’m relief-coaching tells me that they’re having second thoughts, I would ask, “What do you want out of this? How far do you want to go?” If you’re going to have regrets, don’t even pursue it because you’ll end up saying that you’ve wasted your time.
It’s Ramadan, and I’ve been fasting, so I plan my training timing to make sure I don’t push myself too hard. Diet-wise, I water-load at night instead of daytime. It doesn’t affect my performance much and I can still train, although I do feel a bit thirsty at times.
When I was preparing for my fight in Taiwan, I had to give up my favorite rendang dish during Hari Raya as I had to make weight. A relative of mine makes really good rendang, but she’d keep some for me in tupperwares to freeze and eat after my fight. I cannot miss rendang. It’s definitely a must every Hari Raya.
I’m putting my childhood dream of becoming a police officer on hold a bit longer. I applied for a job as a police officer while I was working at the gym, but I was rejected in the last round of interviews. Since I could only reapply after six months, I decided to continue pursuing professional boxing, to see where this leads me to. My boxing career is doing pretty well at the moment. When I decide to retire from boxing, I’ll try again.
I’d really love to do freediving in the Caribbean. I’ve never freedived before, but I read up on it. I know it takes a lot of training because you need a lot of stamina to freedive, but I’m hoping my boxing training somehow helps me achieve that.