Boxing– A male only sport? I don’t think so!
Photo credit courtesy of Wards Boxing Gym
On a hot day in August 2019, one of my closest friends, Adam, asked me to come along to his weekly boxing gym. He thought I’d like it. Never has a truer word been spoken!
I must admit I was dubious, at first. I’m a regular gym goer and runner and I’ve been known to turn my hand (literally) to a boxercise class but I had never been in a Boxing ring.
My initial thoughts were that a Boxing gym would be full of big sweaty, hard as nails, men and I’d look completely out of place in my neon pink gym top. As we pulled up to the porta cabin where the gym is situated, I kept thinking the same thing over in my head: “I’m really not gonna belong here”.
Well never have I been so wrong.
As soon as I walked through the porta cabin door I was welcomed by my new Boxing family. Charlie Ward, the trainer, immediately came up and spoke to me about my boxing and fitness experience (boxing experience-ZERO). I was given some gloves and got in the ring. I was even helped into the ring. What was so comforting was the way everyone in there made me feel completely at ease and talked me through everything I should be doing. At the end of the session I couldn’t wait to go back!
As such, I haven’t looked back and despite a bit of a break, due to socialising (boozing!) during silly season in December, I’ve attended every Monday, without fail and some Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Now, as stereotypical as it sounds, you don’t expect girls to be into boxing. WRONG! There are normally 3 or 4 of us girls every session. Don’t get me wrong, the ratio is still very Man heavy and some sessions I’m the only female, so there’s a way to go. But why, in this day and age, aren’t there female boxers?
I truly believe it’s because of the fear factor of walking into a boxing gym. I’m a very confident person generally (sometimes overly so) but without Adam taking me that first time I’m not sure I would have ever walked into that boxing gym on my own. So, come on girls, let’s get more females in that ring!
The benefits of Boxing are life changing and I have made true friends for life. Both the physical and mental health benefits I’ve achieved through this fantastic sport are amazing. I have never participated in a sport where you sweat so much and laugh so much. I’m always so happy around my new found Boxing family. There is nothing better after a tough day in the office or Court than getting in the ring and letting some anger out!
Let’s hear from some of the team:
Charlie Ward- Trainer and founder of Wards Boxing gym – (follow Wards on Insta and Facebook!)
I started boxing when I was 10 years old. Initially just to lose weight as I was an overweight child. However , I found a love for the sport and decided I would start competing in boxing matches in the amateur boxing association.
I decided to open up a boxing gym when I was 18 years old as I had a love for teaching people what I had learnt during my time of competing. To me training people doesn’t feel like a job and has helped me keep active mentally and physically. I enjoy watching people benefit from boxing.
There are many benefits of boxing. From the clients I’ve trained, I would say boxing has helped a lot of them through mental health issues. It helps with their confidence and self esteem. Boxing can help you meet people you might not normally get to meet. There are obviously the health benefits too, as boxing helps with cardio and muscular fitness.
From my past experience, when I first opened the gym I found it hard to build a female clientele. I put this down to ladies feeling that boxing was a mainly male orientated sport. However, in recent years more women have started to take up boxing and I think stereotypes are beginning to change.
I also train older people. The oldest being in his 70s, proving that you’re never too old to try something new.
Brooke Stuart-Female boxing companion at Wards Boxing gym– Brookestuart100
I first started boxing training when I had my daughter 8 years ago. Initially to lose the baby weight. I’m not really a gym sort of lady and need to be motivated to continue with any sort of training.
Last year I had to stop training for a short period of time due to work and family commitments which soon spiralled and I was away from boxing for longer than expected.
During this time my mental health took a turn and I found myself in unfamiliar territory. Not realising the two were connected. It wasn’t until I consciously made an effort to return, with the help of some close friends, that I found myself again.
Boxing has helped me through some difficult times, the training, adrenaline but most importantly the people. You become part of a team and that team become family.
Joe Yates– Female amateur boxer –@joeyates_5
I always loved to watch boxing. When I was a kid it used to be on ITV on a Saturday night, none of that pay per view shit you get now. Great British fighters, when Bruno was at his best, the dark destroyer, Nigel Benn, was top class and my favourite Prince Naseem Hamed. But back when I was a kid boxing clubs never took girls on. It just was not the done thing.
So when a family friend offered to take me down to a gym in Camberwell and train me during the day when the pros were there. I could’t refuse. That’s where it started. A few years later I moved and started at Bexley boxing club but still there were not many girls to box or have bouts with, even though I was carded I never was able to get a fight. I was meant to fight in a ABA cup and went straight to the final as there were only 2 of us at the same weight in the country but I cracked a rib sparring some army girl who was in the top 5 and that was it. Over. So I left boxing.
About 10 years later I went to Camden, to watch a friend on a white collar show and the buzz came back after all them years. A group of local lads was running a charity boxing show to raise money for charity, so I signed up. My very first fight was with the number 2 ranked in Britain jujitsu champion. I thought I’d get my head punched in. I didn’t . I smothered her for the full 3 rounds. The feeling of walking out with your ring music playing in front of all your friends and family is the best feeling. I cannot explain it. Even the bit before, in the dressing room, you’re meant to feel nervous and anxious. I wasn’t at all. I was on a high. This was my first victory and I went on to have 4 wins, 1 draw and one loss, which, I know everyone says this, but I should of won that. Even the Judges said after they both scored me down as winning but it was the ref had the final say. My last fight was 2 years ago and a 2 month break turned into a 2 year break, but just like the Rocky films I’m hoping to make a come back this year. I’ve met so many people through boxing from all different walks of life, some are and will be friends for life. One thing I have learnt about boxing and that I absolutely love is that it does not matter, if you’re black, white, male, female, transgender, gay, straight. It does not matter what colour your skin is or where you have come from or what religion you are. All that matters is the boxing. It’s a big part of my life now and after losing myself last year, it’s got me back to who I was.
So girls, do you want to improve your physical and mental health? Then get down to your local boxing gym and give boxing a go!
Yours in glitter boxing gloves