Iranian female boxing pioneer staying in France after arrest warrant issued in Tehran, rep says

The first Iranian female to officially fight in a boxing match refused to return to the Islamic Republic after a warrant was issued for her arrest in Tehran, a representative for the woman said Wednesday.

Sadaf Khadem, 24, competed in the boxing match against Anne Chauvin in France over the weekend. Clara Dallay, Khadem’s representative, told Reuters that an arrest warrant was issued for her client and the fight organizer Mahyar Monshipour.

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Monshipour, who was born in Iran, was a former boxing champion and is now a French citizen, according to Reuters. He set up the match after Iran began to allow women to compete.

The head of Iran’s boxing federation denied that Khadem would be arrested, according to the ISNA news agency.

Iranian boxer Sadaf Khadem (L) trains with French Iranian former world boxing champion Mahyar Monshipour in a gymnasium in Royan, southwestern France, on April 11, 2019 ahead of her first fight.

Iranian boxer Sadaf Khadem (L) trains with French Iranian former world boxing champion Mahyar Monshipour in a gymnasium in Royan, southwestern France, on April 11, 2019 ahead of her first fight. (GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images)

“Mrs. Khadem is not a member of organized athletes for boxing, and from the boxing federation’s perspective all her activities are personal,” Hossein Soori said, according to Iran media.

Khadem told French media that she was told a warrant was issued, according to BBC.

“I was fighting in a legally approved match, in France. But as I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, which is completely normal in the eyes of the entire world, I confounded the rules of my country,” she said.

Khadem added she wasn’t wearing a hijab for the bout and was being coached by a man, according to BBC.

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The Iran boxing federation allows women to register to compete, but they must be coached by a woman and wear a hijab during the bout. No bouts between female fighters have taken place in the Middle Eastern country, according to Reuters.