Unfortunately, sporting events often make it to the news headlines across the world, usually for all the wrong reasons. Such was the case on April 1 when female boxer Rola El-Halabi was gunned down by her own stepfather before her scheduled fight in Berlin, Germany against Irma Balijagic Adler of Bosnia.
The 26-year-old Lebanese-born boxing champion was fortunate to survive the horrific incident after her former manager and stepfather Roy El-Halabi shot his way into her dressing room by pulling the trigger on two security guards. The 44-year-old gunman then shot his stepdaughter in a hand, knee, and foot. Rola El-Halabi was just about to leave the dressing room to enter the ring to fight for the vacant WIBF title.
It’s highly unlikely that she’ll ever fight again, but she can be thankful she didn’t lose her life during the shooting. She’s recovering from the wounds in a Berlin hospital as are the two security guards. El-Halabi is an unbeaten lightweight boxer with an 11-0 record with six knockouts. The two-time title holder, who had previously been WIBF and WIBA boxing champion, had been fighting out of Germany recently and she had fired her stepfather from his managerial position earlier this year.
When describing the attack, El-Halabi said, “I was with my coach and manager in the changing room when Dad rushed into the room, threatening us with a gun and shouted ‘All out!’ Then he shot me in the hand from three feet away, I cried and cried, begging him to put the gun away. He threatened to shoot himself, but he was too cowardly. He took his time aiming and shot me in the knee, then in my right foot.”
The shooting incident in Germany was the second involving a female boxing over the past few months. Just last November, American 42-year-old female boxing legend Christy Martin who was shot and stabbed in the torso and left leg by her 67-year-old husband Jim Martin their Florida home. Martin was stabbed as she told her husband she was leaving him and was left for dead on her bedroom floor after the brutal attack.
The attack on El-Halabi appears to be motivated by revenge due to the firing of her stepfather as manager. It looks like premeditated shooting which was specifically meant to end her boxing career. That’s why her hands and feet were targeted.