Boxing: Local boxer Nurshahidah Roslie building her mental game

Nurshahidah Roslie will face Sumanthar Baenkham for the Professional Boxing Association of Thailand's International super bantamweight title in Bangkok next month.
Nurshahidah Roslie will face Sumanthar Baenkham for the Professional Boxing Association of Thailand's International super bantamweight title in Bangkok next month.

S'porean boxer regroups as she aims for Thai belt en route to possible shot at WBO title

Redesign, rebuild, reclaim. That has been the game plan of local boxer Nurshahidah Roslie over the past 16 months, after her first and only loss as a professional in November 2016.

That setback, to New Zealander Gentiane Lupi, forced the 30-year-old Singaporean to work even harder and it paid dividends with a perfect record of three wins - all via stoppages - from three bouts last year.

She hopes to carry that momentum into next month's contest with Sumanthar Baenkham for the vacant Professional Boxing Association of Thailand's International super bantamweight title in Bangkok.

Compatriot Muhammad Ashiq faces Thai Worraphon Jesadajindawat in one of the undercard bouts of the March 3 event.

A win in her first fight of 2018 will not only get her the belt, but also a possible shot at the more prestigious World Boxing Organization Oriental title in Australia in July.

"For me, 2017 was a year where I was trying to build myself back up from the defeat to Gentiane," said Nurshahidah. "My coaches and I looked at what could have been done better or what I did wrong, and basically we tried to build a better fighter out of me."

Nurshahidah, who has seven wins in eight pro fights, admitted the loss affected her.

She said: "It pulled me back down to earth. It showed me the reality I cannot always win, but also that I can get better before every fight.

"But I think in my last win (over Siriphon Chanbuala in September), I showed I can handle the mental side of things better.

"(Siriphon) is a very reputable fighter and fought for a major (World Boxing Association) world title (unsuccessfully in 2012), but I managed to beat her.

"It's all about my self-confidence. It's still tough to handle but I now know what to do to put a stop to negative thoughts when I get into the ring."

She added she was not looking past Sumanthar and thinking of the potential July fight, even though she beat the 17-year-old Thai when the pair faced each other last April in Singapore.

Nurshahidah's coach and manager Arvind Lalwani believes she is better equipped mentally now to handle bigger challenges.

"She can go far, if she wants to," said the 37-year-old, who runs the Juggernaut Fight Club.

"We have a good team with us pushing her every day, but at the end of the day it's basically up to her.

"She's faced a world title contender (in Siriphon) and knocked her out, so it shows she has the potential. If the Shahidah I know is inside her shows up, she can go on to be a world champion."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2018, with the headline 'Building her mental game'. Print Edition | Subscribe