Female boxer wants to be punched in the face

WHEN Rachel Bailey first tried her hand at boxing, she was surprised to be the only woman at the club.

Two years on, and the same once male-dominated gym, the Times Amateur Boxing Club in York Way Court, Kings Cross, is full of women who have followed her lead.

Now, Rachel, 32, of Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, is again blazing a trail – and will soon be the club’s first fully-fledged female fighter.

She said: “I was the only girl when I first started, but everyone was really friendly and welcoming. Now they have specific girls’ nights because lots of women are getting interested.

“I went with a friend from work just to try it out – and I liked it a lot more than I expected. Although I was terrible - I couldn’t even jog for five minutes.”

After training up to four times a week, Rachel now runs half marathons - and is officially fighting fit.

She recently passed a rigorous medical with an Amateur Boxing Association doctor, and is now eligible to step into the ring for her first amateur fight.

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“Now I’m getting older, I felt it was the time to do it before it’s too late,” she said.

“I also hope if I give it a go it might get other women interested. There’s a lot of girls that go there who are young enough to get really good.

“It’s nice to feel they think I’m good enough to have a fight – but now I know its on the cards it’s a bit nerve-racking. Fingers crossed, hopefully I can do the club and the trainers proud.”

Rachel, a policy and project officer at neighbouring Camden Council, likes the opportunity boxing gives to burn off surplus energy - built up over long days cooped up inside an office. “Human beings not meant to sit and stare at a screen for eight hours,” she said.

She will now spend a couple of months building up her sparring experience – and getting some crucial practice taking blows – before facing her first bout in the new year.

She added: “In a fight you have to know how to take a punch. Now I just need to get some practice getting punched in the face!”

- Times Amateur Boxing Club runs classes for women every Monday and Wednesday from 6pm to 7.30pm.