AMMAN — Manar Al Younis is one of two Jordanian women who made history as the Kingdom’s first female boxing referees.

Out of 27 applicants, Younis passed the one-star referee course held by the International Boxing Association (IBA) in 2021, along with her colleague Diana Al Kurdi and four other male referees.

Younis, who is also a boxing coach and the manager of her own private business, was first introduced to the sport in 2017 as a hobby and a way of getting in shape.

Later on, she found herself most fitted for the role of the third man in the ring, charged with enforcing the rules of the sport to protect boxers and ensure a fair game.

“It’s a dangerous sport, so once I enter the ring, the safety of fighters becomes my number one priority,” she told The Jordan Times. Officiating a match is no less strenuous than taking and throwing punches, she noted.

According to Younis, boxing matches are made up of multiple rounds, each lasting for three minutes with a one-minute-long break in-between.

“It’s fast-paced, highly intense and exciting all at the same time,” she said.

Referees must remain vigilant at all times; “by the end of the match, I am sweating as much as the two main fighters in the ring”, Younis added.

She also noted the need to invest in enhancing Jordanian women’s participation in all forms of sports, as sports can build one’s character and teach important values such as commitment and hard-work.

Since the beginning of her career as a boxing referee, Younis said that she has officiated roughly 200 bouts for both men and women fighters at local and international tournaments.

“It remains an unusual sight in Jordan for a woman to officiate a boxing match, especially when it’s for men. But I love what I do, and I do it well. Nothing else matters,” she said.

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