Featured image by Malcolm Joseph (Boxer Grace Fahnbulleh on medal podium receiving bronze at 13th African Games).

Correction March 23, 2024 — This article was updated to show that Fahnbulleh wasn’t the only woman to represent Liberia at the African Games, Fahnbulleh was the only woman to represent Liberia in boxing at the 13th African Games.

In a historic moment for Liberian boxing, the nation’s only female boxer to attend the 13th African Games, Grace Fahnbulleh, clinched the bronze medal in the women’s 50 kg category. Fahnbulleh’s remarkable achievement earned her a place on the podium and etched her name in Liberian sports history as the first boxer, male or female, to medal in boxing at the African Games.

The journey

The journey to this groundbreaking accomplishment was one of determination. As Go Team Liberia (GTL) previously reported, in September 2023, Fahnbulleh lost her match at the Paris 2024 Boxing Africa Qualifier in Dakar, Senegal. The dedicated boxer told GTL that she moved from Canada to Ireland, after the loss, to train and prepare for the African Games.

“I got a new coach and it’s a really good set up,” Fahnbulleh said. “Athletes live in the gym, so I was getting two sessions a day… which helped me prepare mentally and physically with no outside distractions.”

Fahnbulleh called the move a huge decision — and it’s one that has certainly paid off.

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What this means

The bronze medal not only symbolizes personal triumph for Fahnbulleh but also signifies a turning point for Liberian boxing. It’s the emergence of a new era of competitiveness and success on the international stage.

Fahnbulleh beat Egyptian fighter Aly Habiba (4-3) in the quarterfinals, which automatically set her up for the bronze medal. Nigeria’s Zainab Adeshina took silver after winning against Fahnbulleh in the semifinals and losing to Roumaysa Boualam, from Algeria, in the finals.

As the only female boxer to represent Liberia at the African Games, she’s also helping to shine a light on women’s boxing in Liberia.

“All of the great athletes from all over the continent. it’s amazing,” Fahnbulleh said. “And all the women and girls doing great things is very amazing to see. I’m really happy seeing women going up top.”

What’s next for the boxer

At the 13th African Games, Fahnbulleh said the best part was being able to fellowship with her boxing teammates, the Liberia taekwondo team, and runners from the Liberia athletics team. As she wraps up these Games with a bronze medal in hand, she prepares for her next steps.

“I do plan to go to the Nelson Mandela Tournament on April 15 to the 21st in South Africa,” Fahnbulleh shared. “Then we have Thailand, that’s May 26 to June 3rd.”

Grace has her eyes set on the last qualifier for the Olympic Games in Bangkok, Thailand. When asked about her one message to the Liberian people, Fahnbulleh said, “Always put God first and never give up. Keep moving forward.”