Asian cage-fighter strikes blow for region's women

Asian cage-fighter strikes blow for region's women

SINGAPORE - A young Singaporean is hoping her fast hands and feet can strike a blow for Asian women when she joins the region's tiny ranks of female cage-fighters next month.

Sherilyn Lim is polite and pretty but beyond that, the stereotypes crumble as the 23-year-old sweats through a tough routine in a small, downtown gym.

Lim, who first took up martial arts to lose weight, aims fists and elbows at a punching-bag before hitting the ring to fire jabs at a trainer.

Then she drops to the floor, straddles a prone bag and grimly pummels it with her knuckles and forearms, pretending it's an opponent.

Beaded with sweat and with a large tattoo across her back, Lim is training up to seven hours a day ahead of her debut in mixed martial arts (MMA), or cage-fighting.

She will take on another Asian debutante, Malaysia's Ann 'Athena' Osman, in Singapore on October 18 in a One Fighting Championship (One FC) promotion stacked with male fighters.

Anything-goes displays of kicking, punching and wrestling between two combatants locked in a cage is certainly not a traditional pursuit for Asian women.

But Lim, plucked from obscurity for the fight, says her appearance could be empowering for others like her.

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