Diaspo #16 : Sofiane Oumiha, a Moroccan athlete passionate about boxing

The young French boxer of Moroccan descent has participated in the most prestigious competitions, making it to the Olympic Games. Passionate about boxing, the athlete shared with Yabiladi the challenges that he faced while trying to make a living out of this sport especially while living in France.

Soufiane Oumiha, a French boxer of Moroccan descent. / Ph. DR
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Soufiane Oumiha is a young French national of moroccan descent who managed to participate to a number of prestigious competitions in a short time. The 22-year-old boxer won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and at the 2017 Hamburg World Boxing Championships. Originally from Toulouse, he was born on the 23rd of December 1994 to Moroccan parents from Kasba Tadla (near Beni Mellal). The young man started boxing when he was 7, stopped for two years and got back on track by the age of 9. «Basically, I’ve been boxing non-stop for 13 years. I work out twice a day for hours», Soufiane told Yabiladi.

«At the begining, I was not thinking of building a career in boxing, I did it because I liked it, as simple as that. Meanwhile, I was playing rugby as well», he added. The young boxer, did not think at the time of the victories he would achieve. «I was competing and I realized that it worked pretty well for me, so I kept doing it».

As a lightweight boxer, Soufiane won a golden medal at the 2013 Mediterranean Games in Mersin (Turkey), then joined the following year INSEP, the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance. Twice champion of France in 2014 and 2015, he represented the country at the Baku 2015 European Games in Azerbaijan and won a silver medal.

A healthy lifestyle

During the first round of the 2016 Summer Olympics, he had the chance to show his athletic abilities by dominating American boxer Teofimo Lopez by an unanimous decision of the three judges. Facing Amnat Ruenroeng, a Thai professional boxer, Oumiha lost the first round before taking over the ring during the 3rd round. This success opened doors for Oumiha later and enabled him to get qualified for the quarter-finals, winning a silver medal.

«All boxers are dangerous, but I do not fear them anymore», said Soufian Oumiha. A confidence that the young man had to cultivate through training and sacrifices, although he admitted that he did not feel deprived. «I don't think I made sacrifices, because at the end of the day I did what I wanted to do. Of course, it happened to me to feel deprived because I wanted to compete at an international level, it takes a lot of work, but I'm the one who wanted it», he insisted. «Partying has never appealed me, I am not a party person so it helped me to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sleeping well and following a healthy diet style, it is these little things that make the difference».

«Little things» made his dreams come true. «Boxing is not a sport for money, but for fun first and foremost. Few boxers are able to afford a living out of it. In France, resources are limited not like other countries such as the United States», he said. Meanwhile, the boxer is financing a business that is dear to his heart. In March 2018, he is opening a boxing gym.

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