The ‘Lioness’ of the boxing rings
Selvinaz Cura, a student at Izmir University of Economics (IEU), began her kickboxing journey three years ago, dominating the ring and winning 5 gold medals in national and international competitions, achieving her dream of donning the national jersey. Given the title ‘Lioness’ by her coaches and friends, Selvinaz turned her sporting success into an opportunity for education, earning the ‘National Athlete Scholarship’ provided by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Starting her Software Engineering studies at IEU with a full scholarship, Cura expressed her determination to work hard, saying, “I want to become a world champion and bring this happiness to my country.”
Originally from Denizli, 18-year-old Selvinaz Cura was enrolled in gymnastics at the age of 3 by her family, who thought it would help channel her energy and calm her down due to her active childhood. Having been introduced to sports at an early age, Cura explored various branches such as soccer and basketball. Never straying far from sports, she eventually focused on ‘kickboxing’ under the guidance of her coaches.
Training six days a week and spending a significant part of her time in the ring, Selvinaz quickly gained attention with her talent and disciplined work. Making her official debut in January 2022 in the 55 kg category, Cura ranked second in Turkey. Swiftly entering the world of boxing, Selvinaz then secured first place in the 7th International Kickboxing World Cup and WAKO International Kickboxing Tournament. Winning consecutive championships at the Turkish Kickboxing Championships in Kocaeli and Şanlıurfa, she was selected for the national team. Setting an example by balancing sports and education, Selvinaz succeeded in getting admitted to the Department of Software Engineering at Izmir University of Economics with a full scholarship.
MY CONFIDENCE HAS GROWN STRONGER
Stating that sports gives her strength and helps her maintain continuous progress, Cura said, “I have loved sports since my childhood. However, I didn't want this love and passion to remain just a hobby. I tried many sports, and finally, I turned to kickboxing. I was always a confident person, but kickboxing further boosted my self-confidence. I train six days a week to maintain my strength. My training sessions last 2-3 hours a day, including endurance, speed, running, technical, and bag training. I got used to this pace, I don't have time issues, and thanks to sports, I stay fit. I am trying to become a better athlete and stick to my plan without deviating.”
I WOULDN'T LET PEOPLE THINK THAT I SUCCEEDED IN SPORTS BUT FAILED IN STUDIES
Cura continued as follows: “Sports and education complement each other. My story is proof of that. When I started kickboxing, I used to think if I would ever made it to the national team. I always wanted that, and I finally achieved it. During the period when I was preparing for the university entrance exam, my life revolved around kickboxing and studies. Of course, it wasn't easy. I felt overwhelmed at times, but I didn't give up. I am a determined person. I didn't want people to say, ‘She succeeded in sports but failed in her studies.’ I couldn't be content with my success being limited to one area. I value my studies. As a result, I got into the university and program I wanted. Thanks to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, I am studying with a full scholarship. Software engineering is a promising field, considering global technological developments and digitalization. I am currently in the preparatory class. I will work to be the best in the field I am studying. It's not impossible to do both boxing and engineering together.”
I CAN BE A WORLD CHAMPION
Stating that she is preparing for the European Championship in 2024, Cura said, “In kickboxing, you need to keep yourself constantly ready and strong. You also need to pay close attention to your weight. I stick to the plan prepared with my coaches. The European Championship to be held in the summer is my first and most serious goal. I want to win a medal for my country and come in first here. In sports, there is no end to goals, and there shouldn't be. My next goal after becoming the European champion is the world championship. I see the strength in myself to achieve this. Hopefully, I will achieve these goals.”
I WILL FOREVER BE INDEBTED TO MY PARENTS
Stating that her father is an accountant and her mother is a housewife, Cura told that being the only athlete in the family makes her proud. She said, “My family is my biggest supporter in my life. I owe everything to them. I was very mischievous when I was little. I remember, I couldn't sit still. If my family didn't enroll me in sports at a very early age, if they didn't introduce this habit to me, I wouldn't have come this far. I will always be indebted to my family. Their support is priceless.”
I LIKE BEING CALLED THE ‘LIONESS’
Stating that she likes being called the ‘lioness’, Cura said, “My coach came up with the nickname ‘Lioness’. Before each match, he used to motivate me by saying, ‘Come on, little lioness, bring out the female lion in you. You can do it’. We had thought about what the nickname could be when I first entered professional matches. Without any hesitation, my coach said, ‘it will be the Lioness’. I accepted it. Besides, those around me were saying the same thing.”