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Michele Aboro: fighting taboos and chances

Michelle Aboro for NANA | fighting taboos and chances

Don’t let others define who you want to be in life. 

🦸‍♀️Michele is a woman you meet and never forget: you’ll be in the same room with her and feel this zen-like energy radiating from her. Although she is a 7-time World Boxing and Kickboxing champion she could have been the Yoda of Zen-teaching and we would’ve believed you as well. We think it comes from the challenges and victories she’s seen in life that have shaped her as the strong woman she is today. 

🥇Michele was told at 9 years old she couldn’t box because she was a girl. She persevered and at age 32 she won the Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF) super bantamweight world title and defended it three times. Next to her world titles, she was also voted “pound for pound: the best female boxer in the world for four consecutive years. 

"The females couldn’t box, it wasn’t ladylike."

🎗Originally from London, Michele travelled to Shanghai and planned to open her own (kick)box gym. When she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2012 she didn’t just throw her hands in the air: she persevered, fought the disease and built her mini-imperium with a tight-knit community of driven and focused students in a country where the level of sports is still playing catch up. Also, the rise of female participants hasn’t gone unnoticed and Michele and her partner Masca especially have seen to that.

👩‍👩‍👧In a country where same-sex couples and marriage are still a taboo, we notice another piece of zen with Michele who is married to her partner Masca while peacefully raising their daughter Blue Stella in the midst of Shanghai. Michele and Masca also beautifully show how family and career are balanced out: Masca and Blue Stella are often spotted at the gym cheering along while playfully entertaining the next batch of white-collar-fighters who are getting ready for their next Knock Out challenge.

💯We are fascinated how Michele has figured it out: a thriving centre of energy, a fabulous family, a full agenda of travel and impactful work (she worked with sex workers in the Netherlands for self-defence skills, boxed with nuns in Britain and is a mentor to wayward Shanghai teens), collaborating with brands like Adidas for breast cancer awareness and staying sane, centred and a source of inspiration to many women in, but definitely also outside of, Shanghai.

🥊We are in even more awe when we realize that she's fought and earned championships in a male-dominated industry, fought and triumphed against her battle in breast cancer ánd fought and won against prejudice in China in the fields of sports and marriage. And she has done it all with perfect grace and zen.

🏷️Tag or forward to a friend who reminds you of Michele #NANAgirls

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