Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi, Story of the First Vietnamese Female WBO Flyweight Champion

In the moment of victory, Thu Nhi turned to the camera and shouted: "I'm from Vietnam", as she expressed that "I just want to scream so that everyone knows I'm from Vietnam and the rest of the world knows that Vietnamese boxers can also step up to the world's podium."
October 27, 2021 | 16:20

Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi

Born: October 22, 1996 (age 25 years), Ho Chi Minh City

Nickname(s) Black Angel

Weight(s) Mini-flyweight

Height 5 ft 2 in (157 cm)

Division: Mini flyweight

Stance: Orthodox stance

Boxing record

Total fights 4

Wins 4

Wins by KO 1

Losses 0

Boxing career

Before turning professional Thu Nhi won gold medals at the 2015, 2017 and 2018 national championships. In 2015 she defeated Bo Ra Kim while competing in a Vietnam vs. Korea semi-professional tournament.

Thu Nhi made her professional debut on 25 August 2019, scoring a six-round unanimous decision (UD) victory against Chan Mi Lim at the District 7 Arena in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

After a technical knockout (TKO) victory against Kannika Bangnara in November, she defeated Kanyarat Yoohanngoh via split decision (SD) to capture the vacant WBO Asia Pacific female mini-flyweight title on 29 February 2020 at the Felix Hotel Casino in Bavet, Cambodia.

In her next fight she faced reigning champion Etsuko Tada for the WBO female mini-flyweight title. Taking place on 23 October 2021 –a day after her 25th birthday– Thu Nhi defeated Tada via ten-round UD at the Wudong Gymnasium in Ansan, South Korea, becoming the first Vietnamese boxer to win a professional championship. All three judges scored the bout 96–94.

Female boxer Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi made history for Vietnamese boxing when she defeated Etsuko Tada - Japanese champion on the afternoon of October 23 to win the miny flyweight WBO world belt at Ansan Gymnasium (Korea).

Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi, Story of the First Vietnamese Female WBO Flyweight Champion
Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi wins the miny flyweight WBO world belt at Ansan Gymnasium (Korea)

A difficult childhood and a chance to change her life with boxing

Becoming the WBO female mini-flyweight is a worthy reward for the sweat, tears and blood Thu Nhi shed in the ring.

Due to her difficult family situation, Thu Nhi had to leave An Giang to go to Ho Chi Minh City at a very young age to live with her grandmother and try out so many jobs to earn a living such as selling lottery tickets, helping at a restaurant... and how she ended up getting into martial arts was really just a coincidence.

From Korea, where she was crowned with the WBO World Championship belt, Thu Nhi said: "I initially came to martial arts because my high school held classes to add points. Luckily, my teacher was teaching both traditional martial arts and boxing. After practicing traditional martial arts for a while, he discovered that I had the qualities to box, so I turned to boxing. This can be considered as the fate of my life."

The life of the female boxer is not easy, she had to deal with the pain in training, and the pressure in life.

Nhi shared: "When I first started training, because I had not yet joined the team, I had no salary, no income. The scariest thing at that time was the practice of 2-3 sessions/day, leaving me with no time to work."

"I used to have thoughts of giving up to earn a living. But I realized that my passion for boxing was rekindled from those arduous training days," Nhi acknowledged her true passion.

In an interview with TuoiTreOnline right after the match, Nhi said before the match her mentality wasn't really strong enough but the thought that she would be able to write her own name down as the first Vietnamese female to earn a historic position in the world boxing history had given her the strength to perform better and to win.

Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi, Story of the First Vietnamese Female WBO Flyweight Champion
Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi besides her historic accomplishment.

Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi accomplishment since the beginning of her career

No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
4 Win 4–0 Etsuko Tada UD 10 23 Oct 2021 Wadong Gymnasium, Ansan, South Korea Won WBO female mini-flyweight title
3 Win 3–0 Kanyarat Yoohanngo SD 10 29 Feb 2020 Felix Hotel Casino, Bavet, Cambodia Won vacant WBO Asia Pacific female mini-flyweight title
2 Win 2–0 Kannika Bangnara TKO 1 (8), 0:56 3 Nov 2019 District 7 Arena, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
1 Win 1–0 Chan Mi Lim UD 6 25 Aug 2019 District 7 Arena, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The match opens a professional career path

In 2015, Korean manager Kim Sang Bum of the Cocky Buffalo boxing club (District 7, Ho Chi Minh City) held the first semi-professional tournament in Vietnam and invited Thu Nhi to play a show match. After that, Thu Nhi also shocked the international boxing crowd when she defeated the world-famous boxer Gretchen Abaniel (Philippines) at the Victory 8 boxing tournament in 2018.

Thu Nhi said: "Shortly after that victory, Mr. Kim Sang Bum invited me to the Cocky Buffalo Club to practice to develop a professional path."

Well-invested, Thu Nhi significantly improved her combat skills. Cocky Buffalo Club also invited former WBA champion Park Yong Kyun, a famous Korean name, to directly coach her. Her persistence, tenacious will to compete, blood and hard work during this time have fully equipped Thu Nhi to step into the professional path 3 years ago.

Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi, Story of the First Vietnamese Female WBO Flyweight Champion
Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi knocked Etsuko Tada for the WBO female mini-flyweight title.

Work hard to be on top of the world

More than a year ago, Thu Nhi made a miracle for Vietnamese boxing when she won the WBO Asia - Pacific title. And to continue writing history, Thu Nhi quietly went to practice in Uzbekistan to aim for the WBO world belt.

Before the WBO World Championship match, Thu Nhi won all four of her professional matches, including one by knockout. However, to prepare for the fight with Japanese WBO champion Etsuko Tada, Thu Nhi and her teammates at Cocky Buffalo Club went to Uzbekistan - a very developed country in boxing - to practice.

In Uzbekistan, they went to the Yangiabad mountain training ground - where the Uzbek players just attended the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and strong boxers from Cuba, England, Kazakhstan and Hungary... practiced here.

"This training has trained me in physical strength, speed and accuracy when striking. But when I first passed, I had many difficulties due to not being able to eat. In the first 3 days, I lost 4kg, with low blood sugar. After that, I told myself that I have to work hard for the dreams ahead, so I try to eat to be strong," Nhi said.

Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi, Story of the First Vietnamese Female WBO Flyweight Champion
Thu Nhi trains for her match in Korea.

In the moment of victory, Thu Nhi turned to the camera and shouted: "I'm from Vietnam", as she expressed that "I just want to scream so that everyone knows I'm from Vietnam and the rest of the world knows that Vietnamese boxers can also step up to the world's podium."

"I'll keep going," a strong message from a powerful female fighter

A day after the victory, Thu Nhi shared with TheThao: "Boxing has completely changed my life in a positive way. My temperament has become calmer, and I have a good income to take care of my family. In addition, I'm very happy to be known by many people. When I go out, people often recognize me as a boxing champion."

Nhi added, "Up to this point, the match against Etsuko Tada was the hardest for me. But in the future, I will face battles to defend the WBO World Championship against many other strong fighters. I also had to consider moving up to a higher-weight class to challenge myself. I will keep going, not stopping here. My dream with boxing is still very much!".

A leader from Vietnam Boxing Federation said that by owning 2 belts - the WBO Asia - Pacific and the World's WBO, Thu Nhi has the opportunity to be invited to attend major championship events in the US, Australia ... Then the bonus amount will definitely be high. Therefore, the title of World WBO champion is a premise for Thu Nhi to have a better life. It is known that Thu Nhi is currently being given the opportunity to remain in her position at Cocky Buffalo Club in District 7 (HCMC) with a salary of 8 million VND.

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