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GOLD COAST, Australia
Eight-year-old Jasmine Parr survived her first public kickboxing bout on the Gold Coast on Saturday, but isn't so sure she wants to do it again any time soon.
"Maybe when I'm 10," she told the Gold Coast Bulletin afterwards, her US$106 prizemoney in her hand.
It was a fight surrounded by controversy, but as Jasmine, the pint-sized daughter of eight-time world champion kickboxer John Wayne Parr, prepared for her first step into the ring there was nothing but support.
Both girls were kitted out with headgear, shin pads and 16-ounce gloves, but before the fight, spokeswoman for Australian brain injury organization Synapse, Anna Petrou, said brain injury could be acquired from minimal force and headgear would not offer complete protection.
"It doesn't take a lot of force for the brain to be impacted," she said. "For the girls ... it might not be the initial impact but [they] could lose their balance and fall ... which could impact them."
As she waited to be called Jasmine couldn't wipe the smile off her face, but admitted she had been scared of her opponent, seven-year-old Georgina "Punchout" Barton from Brisbane.
"She [Georgina] looked really scary in her photo, but when I met her in real life she was really nice," she said. "I'm not scared of getting hurt, because I get hurt a lot."
Heading out into the ring to cheers and claps from the audience Jasmine was all smiles, but her confidence didn't last long with the tears starting to flow a few minutes into the first round, but after a pep talk from her father she finished the fight.
The girls competed in Muay Thai — a combat sport — on a 15-fight card in Queensland's Gold Coast, with their bout declared a tie.