Q: When you started boxing at 13, how did it feel?

A: I loved it. It didn’t matter that I was the only person wearing
a hijab. I thought, this is what I want to do.

Q: USA Boxing granted you a waiver to fight in a hijab, but internationally, you’re still not allowed?

A: I have the skill set to make the Olympics, and my coaches have said the only thing holding me back is getting the international rule changed, so we’re working to do that.

Q: What was it like when you had your first fight?

A: Before the last round of my first fight, I looked outside of the ring and there was a group of 30 little kids screaming—they were all chanting my name. And my coach said, “Win or lose, you’re doing this for them.” 

(This interview was edited for length and clarity.)