Outside the Ring: Monique Sciberras

By Jill Diamond on June 18, 2015
Outside the Ring: Monique Sciberras
“I told my wife Allison that one day Monique will become a world champion.” (Justin Lloyd)

“Monique is a fighter in the ring, but when she leaves the ring she is just Monique, someone no one would pick as a fighter…”

Sports and Philanthropy: A series of articles dedicated to those who’ve given their all and still give more. Each article will feature a different community champion; no belts, no medals, no ratings… just good people passing it on.

Age is not a defining criterion when it comes to championship character. Monique Sciberras has been fighting since she was a child. Somehow, with the support of her family, she was able to turn victim into hero. Children like her, who suffer Autism, rarely find such unique outlets for overcoming their difficulties. Thanks to her family, and the uncommon devotion of her father, David, she is traveling an unusual path and turning what once was a problem into a solution. Her amateur record is impressive, and she dreams of becoming a world champion. Perhaps that will happen, given the effort and opportunity she has encountered. What’s certain is that right now, she’s living an unusual life, one rich with adventure and diversity, thanks to her sport… boxing.  At times, one hears of a father who relishes the idea of his son becoming a champion; less so for a daughter; and even less likely for a child who has encountered so many personal obstacles. And there’s controversy surrounding the sport of boxing when taught to and practiced by youngsters. Even Monique’s father has some doubts, as the sport pertains to other children. I believe, that in the majority of cases, the safety and discipline of a gym can be a strong foundation in later life, and doesn’t inspire violence; instead, it teaches respect and clear ground rules for when and when not to use force. And so David and Monique train, travel, and keep the dream of conquering the ring, and her struggles, in sight.

We wish Monique well on her journey, and support her determination as she fights for a victory few of us can even imagine. To some, she has already won a title far more substantial than anything boxing can give her. And why settle for fitting in when you can be outstanding?

That is just one of the questions I asked David Sciberras, Monique’s father.

At what age did Monique start boxing and why?

Monique started training at some time when she was three years old because we had gone to see a doctor and the doctor told us Monique had a spectrum of Autism and that she had an intellectual disability and was delayed. The doctor also said that she would never have a normal life, such as go to normal school; speech and language never be normal and she would never have a normal job. The same day we got home from the doctor, Monique was screaming. She would run round the house in distress from, say, the sound off a leaking tap, a plug being pulled from a sink or bath, a flushing toilet, a door closing. Allison, my wife, was comforting Monique on this same day. I could see my wife in deep distress from this and the news from the doctor. I just walked away seeing how this news was already tearing away at our family and thought under the economic situation what could I do for Monique?  I thought, well, I only know of two things, engineering or boxing/martial arts. Within ten or so minutes I had put something into my head. I went to tell Allison what I proposed to do, and to make matters worse I told her Monique would one day become a world champion. I can tell you this did not go down real well. This was the beginning. Monique had her Boxing License from age 10 and had her first bout in Canberra that same year.

How has it helped her dealing with her Autism?

I can tell you this. Monique has trained daily for the past 10 years, 365 days of the year, seven days a week, birthdays, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The only time she ever had off was when she was ill, such as virus—but this just seemed to work. So, we kept going till all the symptoms seemed to disappear. Mind you there are things. I would not let her cross the road on her own, etc.

At her age, how does she deal with losing?

That is a hard question in the sense that she has never been stopped in a fight. But she has developed a delightful decorum, so that when a fight has gone to her opponent, she holds herself in the ring and people in the crowd pick up a certain level of humility and they just love her for it. She has never put out any level of sadness or other emotion. She is happy to know she has done her best.

Do you intend to take her pro?

Yes, this is the dream.

Were you involved in boxing before you started training your daughter?

I joined the local Police Citizens Youth Club when I was 13 and had trained there off and on till I was 16. Then I was employed by the Australian Defense Force and started training as a boxer, as they had full-time trainers. Not long after I started at the Defense Force, due to cost cutting, the gym closed. From about 17 to 19 I was trained by the top boxer from that Defense Force Gym who happened to work in my section. At the same time, after work, I trained at another PCYC with two other trainers.

Tell me some of the other people Monique trained with?

Monique trained off and on for about a year with Jeff Fenech, and with Lincoln Hudson for almost for a year.

What are your immediate goals?

Monique will turn 15 in one month. We will have to go overseas in the next month or two and fight again. I have had her sparring with the top WBC female champ in Monique’s weight division, so we can see where we need to be.

Given the economic climate around Women’s Boxing, what path do you see Monique taking?

I don’t take the economic path into consideration. I will do my best to take her to the end of this journey as long as she keeps up with the pace. If this is God’s wish that’s where it will go. I am simply a man that wants to help his daughter for as long as she wishes to live her dream.

What is your dream for her?

My dream is just a dream. I am a dreamer, that’s how we got this far, but it’s to hold the WBC title in three or four weight divisions. Now that’s a dream, but I believe if you work hard enough dreams can come true.

She travels a lot. How does school fit in?

Monique is home schooled. We applied to the board of education to school Monique from home due to religious and sporting commitments. They are very happy with Monique’s progress overall. We have been granted another two years of home schooling after they saw Monique’s progress.

Who are Monique’s boxing idols?

Manny Pacquiao, Jeff Fenech, Mike Tyson.

Who are yours?

My idols are Muhammad Ali, Jake LaMotta, Jeff Fenech, Manny Pacquiao, Mike Tyson, and Rocky Marciano.

Can you comment about the existing amateur program?

I can only talk about here in Australia. I don’t know much about it. I have walked away from it twice, once in 2011 and in 2015. While it’s Monique’s dream to represent her country I have not got the courage to tell her,  no matter what you do here Monique, no matter how much you succeed they will never accept you. I haven’t seen TV in over 10 years. I don’t surf the net to see what is happening around the world. I have seen some local events but don’t know what is happening with the rest of the world, so I would probably be the wrong person to ask.

What do you think Monique has learned in the ring, besides fighting?

Composure, focus, how to have fun and enjoy the sport or what our family calls the game or play.

Would you recommend this to other youngsters?

Not at the moment in the current environment. This is not easy to say!

Your family has dedicated most of their time to Monique’s career. What are the pitfalls? The rewards?

The pitfalls mainly have to do with money matters and hard work. The rewards are seeing dreams turn into reality, seeing a child with disabilities turn into a child with ability. It’s priceless.

Who are your role models? Who inspires?

If not for Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao, I would have given up a long time ago.

Can you share a story?

Only a simple story of my own: I have suffered major depression for many years. I’ve been on medication for many years. Boxing has kept my family together. It’s the dream that’s kept us alive and we have lived, all three of us, in the same room in our small house; but it has kept us close and it has kept Monique hungry. I get asked a lot of simple questions by the public and people in the local boxing community, but at the end of the day it’s called hard work and dedication. There are no short cuts. What you put in is what you get, but all they see is enigma. 

What honors/awards has she won?

Fencing 1st Blue Mountains fencing 2014
Fencing 2nd Southern Highlands Opens men and women 2014
Fencing 2nd Nationals 2014
Fencing 3rd Nationals 2014
Fencing 3rd Blue Mountains Opens Women’s event 2014
Karate 1st Sydney region 2008 overall Sydney Champion of Year
Karate 1st International [Fighter of the Day] from junior senior male female overall from 250 people 2008
Karate 1st International in Koshiki full contact karate 2008
Karate 1st International world cup 2008 IMAT
Karate 1st International U.M.A. 2008 championship
Karate 6 Nation places
Judo 2nd State title 2009
Weapons Sword 2nd World Cup elimination 42 competitors 2008
Karate 2nd World Cup Full Contact 2008 loss to India was told in 2015 that Monique won but girl come all the way from India (that’s fair to us) I understand
Kickboxing 1st against male 2009
Karate 1st National against Male 2009
Karate 6 1st Nationals
Muay Thai Kings Cup 2009 Draw
Muay Thai WMF World Amateur title 2013
There are up to 100 medals/trophies in all different events and sports including running, weapons, judo, fencing, kickboxing, Muay Thai
Karate black belts 2 in 2 styles
Karate belt green gojo
Judo belt green belt
Running School cross-country Champion 2011
Boxing 2015 state champion 46kg
Boxing 2015 defeats two-time Australian champion at 46kg who is also two-time golden gloves champion who is also a weight division above Monique 48kg, Monique’s first fight from 2011
Boxing 2015 Monique defeats as far as I Know the 48kg fighter from the League because 51kg champ would not fight this girl because 51kg fighter’s team said that she had 40 fights was Monique second fight Monique Won this fight and was award
Boxing 2015 Thailand win points    

What organizations does she give her time to?

Monique trains fights, lives and stands to fight for people with Autism, disabilities and people who get bullied. In most of the fights she has had in Australia, this would be announced by the mc, or if she does a demonstration of a fighting form she will do this as an ambassador for Autism. Monique fights for Autism.

What should people know about Monique, and youngsters like her, that perhaps they don’t?

Monique is a humble child that nobody believes is a fighter. Even when people ask, “Are you really a fighter?” Monique says very little. She never talks about fighting or the sport. Monique has seen Rocky 1 to 5 hundreds of times and still does. Monique is a fighter in the ring, but when she leaves the ring she is just Monique, someone no one would pick as a fighter. Monique insists that we, her parents, take her to serve the altar every Sunday. To Monique, those are the rules for us as parents. She has done this the last five years on Sundays. Monique went to early intervention school for her Autism speech and language delays and intellectual disability for a year. This was a program brought about by the government with very limited places and very strict criteria. Monique sings many songs in acapella to help her with speech and language. Most of Monique’s training, 90% of her training has been done at home on a 6-foot by 10-foot carpet. That room is also a classroom, dining room, lounge room and music room. There is no speed ball, punching bag, floor to ceiling ball. Monique does 22 patterns, forms and kata a day, Monique also specializes in four different weapons. 

If you had one wish, what would to it?

To meet Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach.

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Outside the Ring: Monique Sciberras

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Representing For Autism

Monique Sciberras

Monique Sciberras 9 year old training Muay Thai

Monique Sciberras 10 year old training boxing 2011

Monique Sciberras bag work after 15 rounds

Monique Sciberras SportsNation

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This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Eric 06:52am, 06/19/2015

    Damn. The little girl can kick some arse. Impressive.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:06pm, 06/18/2015

    Once again the introduction to this interview is off the charts…...Monique looks like an angel to these old eyes and she more than likely is just that….an angel. What people don’t understand is that angels can knock the shit out of you and love you all the while they’re doing it.

  3. Kid Blast 12:10pm, 06/18/2015

    A miracle

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