Search

Islington Boxing Club’s late starter sets her sights on Commonwealth Games medal

13:26 28 July 2014

Valerian Spicer

Valerian Spicer

Archant

Islington Boxing Club’s Valerian Spicer never dreamt she’d make a Commonwealth Games team.

However, having made it to Glasgow 2014, Spicer insists she will not be leaving without a medal.

The 34-year-old, who works as a PA in London’s West End, begins her dream for glory against New Zealand’s Alexis Pritchard on Tuesday afternoon – an unlikely scenario for someone who is very much a latecomer to the sport.

Sporty at school, other things in life then took over and even when she joined her first boxing gym (Chadwell St Mary), she had no aspirations to fight in the ring.

Four years on, with an ABA title to her name, that has all changed and Spicer has no intention of just coming along for the ride.

She said: “I think when I started I had no intention of sticking at it for long as I had tried gyms and things before and got bored, but something with boxing did click.

“I was 30 by the time I started so was not sure I would be able to achieve anything major. The most I thought I could get to would be an ABA or a national title.

“I achieved the win in the ABAs a couple of years ago and now this chance has presented itself.

“So it is quite a liberating feeling knowing I’ve achieved more than I thought was possible.

“But now I’m here the aim is getting a medal, preferably a gold one. It is about putting in a good performance and hopefully the rest will follow.”

Despite being a Londoner at heart, Spicer will compete under the flag of Dominica, the country of her mother’s birth.

Asked why an ABA champion was not fighting for England she said: “England has never asked. I’ve won a national tournament and beaten girls who have represented England, but it doesn’t at all stick in my craw.”

Preparation has been meticulous, with work giving her two months off to get into top shape. Despite big interest in the sport among the girls at Islington, Spicer has had to spar with men to get ready for the quest for gold.

“My club-mate David James has been up to spar with me,” she said. “There is not enough depth among the women for me to always box with the girls so I have to mix it with the boys as well.

“It certainly sharpens your competitive edge and we drew quite a crowd at the gym up here when we were sparring this week.”

Spicer only has this opportunity because amateur boxing recently raised the age limit for female boxers from 34 to 40.

Despite the reprieve, Spicer knows only too well the clock is ticking on her career and that this is her big moment in the spotlight.

“Boxing is hard and you have got to be dedicated as every time you compete in a boxing ring you are on your own,” she added.

“I’ve put everything into four and a half years of total dedication and for me this is now or never.”

Latest Sport Stories

Yesterday, 12:18
Calypso Gymnastics Club, based at Mount Carmel Catholic College for Girls

It’s one of the greatest challenges facing sports enthusiasts around the country – how to persuade young people, particularly girls, to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Thu, 13:28
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the touchline. Picture: Steve Paston

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Alex Bellotti worries about the team’s inability to maintain a title challenge.

Wed, 18:00
John Ryder (grey shorts) defeated Sergey Khomitsky to win the vacant WBA international middleweight title. Pic: Philip Sharkey/TGS Photo

Islington’s John Ryder overcame an early setback to see off the dangerous Sergey Khomitsky and win the vacant WBA international middleweight title.

Wed, 17:56
Regent's FC

Naim Essaghi and Yemi Buraimoh both netted braces as Regent’s FC brushed aside defending champions Cricklewood Wanderers 4-1 to reclaim top spot in the Islington Midweek League Premier Division.

Wed, 16:16
Shaun Dixon in action for Highgate Harriers. Pic: Dieter Perry

Shaun Dixon and Ben Noad helped Highgate Harriers to repeat their 2012 success with victory in the South of England Championships on Saturday.

Wed, 06:40
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal have enough firepower in their squad after he failed to sign a striker in the transfer window.

Tue, 09:07
Arsenal's Kenny Sansom (left) wins a battle with Tottenham striker Nico Claesen

Kenny Sansom has urged Arsenal to be aggressive “from first whistle to last” when they take on Southampton at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe