One month after picking up a silver medal in her first competitive bout in a Guyana tournament, Saint Lucian female light heavyweight boxer, Nikaela Khodra, will now compete in the International Boxing Association (IBA) Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, India.
Over 200 competitors from 40 countries have confirmed their participation at the tournament which will take place from March 15-26, 2023.
Khodra, 21, will leave the island this weekend to head to the tournament in India. She will be accompanied by National Head Boxing Coach, Conrad Fredericks.
Khodra made her debut at the second edition of the Patrick Forde Memorial Tournament, which was held at the National Gymnasium in Georgetown, Guyana, to packed capacity on Sunday, February 19, 2023. She came up against Trinidadian Leeann Boodram, who has 27 fights and 10 years of experience. Khodra lost the three-round bout by one point.
“I’ve definitely been working very hard for the India tournament,” Khodra said on Thursday. “The training had shifted into top gear. The sessions have been great and coach and I have been implementing some new techniques. Being able to work with the senior boxers has also been a game-changer for me over the past few weeks.”
Acknowledging that she’s relatively new to the sport she took up nearly a year ago, Khodra said she’s riding high on her debut bout in Guyana where she showed much courage, and also the work she’s been putting in ahead of the India tournament.
“I’m feeling very confident, but I’m still very nervous because it’s boxing’s biggest stage,” she said. “I’m still running on a lot of confidence coming off my first fight. We worked a lot, we gave a lot, we made a lot of corrections, and I definitely think we can go there and accomplish a lot and make Saint Lucia proud. I’m really hoping I can give it my best and just make everybody proud. I know I’m still very new to the sport, but the sky’s the limit with boxing right now.”
Meanwhile, David Christopher, President of the St. Lucia Boxing Association (SLBA), said seeing Khodra represent Saint Lucia at the IBA Women’s World is a major achievement not only for the Association, but also Saint Lucia.
“As President of the St. Lucia Boxing Association, I’m very proud to be in charge presently to see a young female boxer going off to a World Boxing Championship,” Christopher said. “Whenever a female boxer attends a huge tournament like this, without having competed at such a high level before, it’s a big achievement. We know the difficulties we’ve had to produce female boxers, including many of them not remaining in the sport. We’ve had many female boxers grace the gym, but, for whatever reasons, they left. We’re encouraged by the fact that Niki gets the full support of her parents and the executive members urging her on. The Association and coaches invest heavily in her, but she, too, invests in herself as a boxer.”
He added: “With the determination Niki shows in boxing, after playing other sports such a rugby and basketball, I think the sky is the limit for her. I personally wish her the best in India as she competes in her first major tournament. I think she will represent in a big way and let her know that we’re very proud of her.”
SOURCE: St. Lucia Boxing Association. Headline photo: PHOTO: Saint Lucian light heavyweight boxer, Nikaela Khodra, right, with National Head Boxing Coach, Conrad Fredericks.