Islington Boxing Club debutant inspired by Anthony Joshua’s Olympic success
PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 March 2016
Four years ago, Amy Andrew never even envisaged being a spectator at a boxing contest – let alone taking part in one.
Yet the 30-year-old Sport England media officer, whose interest in the sport developed after she watched Anthony Joshua box at the Olympics in 2012, is set to make her competitive debut next week.
Andrew joined Islington BC at the end of last year and is one of several home boxers who will feature on the Hazellville Road club’s next show on Wednesday at the Boston Dome, Tufnell Park.
She attended the club’s last show in February at the same venue, standing in for regular recorder Amy Pu at ringside – but this time the newcomer will be taking centre stage.
“It was amazing, especially seeing so many children box – they were way better than me!” Andrew told the Gazette. “The job’s quite simple but it got confusing because I was distracted by the boxing.
“The whole time I was thinking ‘what if it’s me next time?’ “It’s going to be pretty scary but it’s also exciting, everyone’s being really helpful and hopefully I won’t let them down.
“I never thought that I would join an amateur club, let alone fight for them. You meet lots of different people, the atmosphere is good and all the coaches here really know their stuff and put in so much effort.
“When I went to watch Anthony Joshua it was a random one-off, with some free tickets – I didn’t even know who he was! But it was completely different to what I thought boxing would be like.”
Andrew’s initial decision to don the gloves herself came about as part of a fitness drive, when she signed up for a 10-week course at The Ring pub in Southwark to train for a white-collar charity event.
As she became ever more engrossed in boxing, Islington’s reputation for encouraging female fighters – exemplified by England star and national light-welterweight champion Cherrelle Brown – proved to be quite a draw.
“I’d got bored going to the gym, but I found boxing quite addictive – there’s always stuff to learn and it keeps things interesting,” said Andrew. “I was rubbish but completely hooked.
“Straight away I loved it because it’s not an aggressive sport as people think, it’s a good way of managing aggression. You have to be fit, think a lot and throw yourself at it, which kind of suits my nature.
“I heard they had really good fitness classes at Islington, so I came along and Cherrelle was taking the class, shouting at everyone! But it was incredible and I really enjoyed it.
“I did that for a few weeks but I wanted to spar with more girls – none of my friends boxed and there weren’t that many women I’d come across who did boxing.
“Islington are good at encouraging women to get into it – Cherrelle’s amazing as a female face of the club – and they’ve got good facilities, with the changing-rooms and so on.”
Since she joined Islington, Andrew admits her objectives have shifted – shenow wants to realise her full potential as a boxer rather than just staying in shape.
“I think a lot of girls come to boxing quite late, but now it’s become more mainstream and fashionable. Models and celebrities are doing it to get fit,” Andrew added.
“Then they realise that it’s opening doors for them. I think someone like [Olympic gold medallist] Nicola Adams has also made a lot of people change their perception of female boxers.
“Having started because I wanted to get fit and skinny, now I just want to get stronger and better at boxing – and I’d never have thought that would happen.”
n Tickets for the Islington show are available, priced at £15 (adults) and £5 (under-16s), from the Hazellville Road gym.
Contact Mick Doherty on 07921 724 601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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