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“I went to the USA for a better future for my career as a boxer”

Yaseen Alrubaye is an amateur boxer of Iraqi origin who fled his country in 2010, when he was 11 years old, because of the war started


Yaseen Alrubaye is an amateur boxer of Iraqi origin who fled his country in 2010, when he was 11 years old, because of the war started by the United States to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Turkey was the first country to host him as a refugee, 3 years later he traveled to Boston, United States, where he began to realize his dream as a boxer.

At age 17, Yaseen Alrubaye became one of the most accomplished fighters in his weight division, going 17-0 undefeated in the amateur category of the Golden Gloves. The Golden Gloves are the best-known amateur boxing tournaments in the United States.

I was 13 years old when I came to the United States, still an amateur boxer. I don’t want to turn pro until I have enough experience.

Yaseen Alrubaye.

Yaseen Alrubaye used to sell empty beer and alcohol bottles to buy food.

Yaseen tells that he started boxing in Turkey; In Turkey, Yaseen found himself in a different country, with a language and customs totally unknown to him. He wanted to be a boxer, and he loved boxing, even though he didn’t know how to fight. “In Turkey I have been threatened with death, mainly because of my beliefs, he was being harassed and chased after school by a group of boys every day,” says Yaseen Alrubaye.

Yaseen says that she was too young and lived on the streets. So, he decided to approach a boxing gym and offer his services in exchange for accommodation and training. “I had to learn the language, and I knew that school was not going to work for me,” says Yaseen. He lived in the gym in exchange for picking up, tidying up and keeping the space clean, “that’s how I got away with a free membership every month,” Yaseen recalls.

“Being in Turkey made me a better boxer, even though I didn’t have a place to stay”

In the gym, they took advantage of the fact that Yaseen did not know how to fight to teach the rest of the students. But he says that this helped him a lot when learning different techniques. Thus he spent the 3 years he lived in Turkey, without ever stopping dreaming of a better future.

I left behind my coach and many friends, he wanted me to stay there with him. I told him that he had to go, it was the best for me. He, my coach, knows people who are here, and willing to help me and he did.

Yaseen Alrubaye.

After 3 years boxing in the United States, Yaseen became, at the age of 17, one of the hardest punchers in his weight division. With a record of 17-0, he never lost a fight at the amateur gold gloves. Currently, Yaseen continues school from high school to night school. He is looking to turn professional before he turns 23.

Gilberto Ewale Masa: musician, journalist, publicist, and business project manager.