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Last Updated: Monday, 20 December, 2004, 06:55 GMT
Fighting fires - and other women
Sabrina Cohen
Sabrina Cohen beat her rival within 50 seconds
She may be more used to battling against flames, but fire officer Sabrina Cohen has taken on a fight of a different kind.

Ms Cohen, who serves with South Wales Fire Service, has become one of Wales' top martial arts fighters.

She recently won the first Mixed Martial Arts fight between women to be held in Wales.

The 21-year-old beat Lisa Newton from Hartlepool in 50 seconds of the first round.

She now hopes that she can encourage other women to take up the sport.

"It is such a fantastic way of keeping fit and strong," said Sabrina who lives in Cross Keys near Newport.

"I train six days out of eight and I really love it. The sport originated in America but it is starting to become really popular here now."

Sabrina Cohen and her competitor Lisa Newton
Sabrina Cohen and her competitor Lisa Newton after their fight

Sabrina - who recently undertook an international fact-finding mission on how violence against fire crews is dealt with - said that the sport has given her skills which she uses in her job.

"The training makes you really strong and I've have found that since taking it on I have become much calmer," she said.

"It really focuses your mind and gives you self-discipline, which you need in a job like mine.

"And all the lads on my watch tease me saying stuff like 'we'd better not mess with her!'," she said.

Now members of the club where Sabrina trains have said they hope that more competitive women's fights can be held in Wales.

Coach Mike Swambo, who has trained a number of MMA champions, described Sabrina as "a phenomenal natural talent".

"She can stand alongside any of the guys who fight competitively.

"She has done incredibly well," he added.

Firefighter's tour on violence
08 Mar 04 |  South East Wales

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