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Friday, 6 July 2012

Boxing clever for Britain

We'll all be crossing fingers and wishing Natasha Jonas, our brilliant lightweight Team GB boxing representative the very best of luck in London 2012...  it was an honour to meet such a superb ambassador for the sport
When I first started my (very amateur!) boxing attempts at Spanniorum Farm Gym, back in the mid-'90s, as an inexplicably angry teenager, women's boxing was still something of an 'unofficial' activity, struggling to make its mark and win respect as a recognised sport. I was luck enough to train alongside our very own Jane Couch, who has done so much to get womens' boxing on the map.

So I find it particularly moving that London 2012 should be hosting the first Olympic Womens' boxing, and that we should have such talented hopefuls.  Lightweight Natasha Jonas, ( I am feeling a bit over-awed to be standing next to someone who has achieved something I only ever dreamed about!) is not only a real hopeful for a medal, but is also a superb ambassador for the sport.

I realise, and appreciate that some people are a bit squeamish about the idea of women boxing. All I can say is, if you get the chance, meet and talk to female boxers like Natasha who are an inspiration. And in a world where girls are increasingly getting into the kinds of violent trouble as boys on our streets, the need for women to be able to strive to achieve excellence in competitive boxing as an alternative to a life of a cul-de-sac of gangs, depression and hopelessness, is more pressing than ever.

As Natasha says, she's a 'fighter' - we should all be incredibly proud and grateful that thanks to boxing, she's fighting for nothing less than Britain's place on the Olympic podium!