(NOV 8) ULM ó Germanyís
former world boxing champion, Rola el-Halabi, is set to fulfil
her dream to box again, nearly two years after she was shot by
her stepfather in a vicious attack.
The 27-year-old El-Halabi, who
won the womenís International Boxing Association (IBA) and
International Boxing Federation lightweight titles in 2009, will
climb into the ring on January 13 when she takes on Italyís
Lucia Morelli in Ulm for the vacant IBA lightweight title.
The young boxerís life was turned upside down on April 1 2011
when her stepfather and former manager, Hicham el-Halabi, shot
her in her right hand, left knee and both feet in her dressing
room before she was due to box in Berlin.
The attack came after she terminated his management contract in
January that year. He also shot two security guards before being
arrested at the stadium. In November last year he was jailed for
six years by a court in Berlin.
Her injuries left her in a wheelchair for three months, but el-Halabi
says her dream is to become a world champion again. For now, she
is just happy to climb into the ring once more.
"The relief is enormous," she says. "This has been my dream and
I wanted to live it again.
"Itís like a second birth, I didnít want to say goodbye to this
great sport. This is like Christmas, a birthday and Easter all
rolled into one."
The Beirut-born boxer, who now lives in Ulm in Bavaria, says she
had plenty of motivation to fight again.
"Actually, I have always been motivated to take the hard path, I
never had anyone who has done something for me and I am taking
this will to win into the fight.
"I always said I will stop boxing at the peak of my career and
April 1 was definitely not that.
"I didnít retire then and that has motivated me to keep fighting
and always has."
El-Halabi says her fiance has helped her through her tough
journey back to full fitness but she has no plans to stay in
contact with her stepfather.
"We have absolutely no contact," she says. "The last time I saw
him was during the trial and I donít intend to establish
contact." She says she is "just concentrating on myself".
El-Halabi says a simple 5km run, just after she came out of the
wheelchair following surgery, was part of her inspiration to