THOUGH Justine Valender may have lost her debut kickboxing fight against Keelyn Papuni last Saturday, she still left the ring feeling like a winner.
In raising over $1100 for White Ribbon charity, a group aiding victims of domestic violence, and dedicating her concession speech to vulnerable women, Ms Valender said she felt a huge sense of achievement and triumph in herself.
“I had a huge feeling of accomplishment afterwards and felt very emotional,” she said.
“I was approached by about 10-15 women from the crowd after my speech and they didn’t go too much into their stories but told me how grateful they were for me raising funds and awareness.”
‘Fight Night’ consisted of 15 fights between amateur and professional kick boxers alike, hailing from clubs all around the area.
With a crowd of around 600 packed into Ray Owen Sports Centre, Ms Valender said the energy was electric.
“I could hear the crowd roaring from backstage of the stadium, it was so surreal,” she said.
“It was definitely very nerve racking stepping up there and even though I’d been training for weeks, nothing could have prepared me for that.”
Though Ms Valender said she likely wouldn’t do another public fight like this, she would like to do another fundraising event and will definitely continue with kickboxing.
“From a fitness perspective, it’s such a great workout for your body, mind and spirit,” she said.
“It’s my cardio routine but also my routine for developing self-esteem and confidence.”
In the future Ms Valender said she would love to teach a kick boxing class at Kalamunda Kickboxing Club for women who want to learn self-defence.
“It’s a very hands-on way to help these ladies who feel they need to defend themselves and those who are in bad relationships currently,” she said.