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Islington Boxing Club’s resident stuntwoman hopes her luck will change

PUBLISHED: 17:41 01 April 2015 | UPDATED: 17:41 01 April 2015

Islington's Rachel Holifield (left) in action against Army boxer Megan Reid at the Boston Dome, Tufnell Park

Islington's Rachel Holifield (left) in action against Army boxer Megan Reid at the Boston Dome, Tufnell Park

Dieter Perry

It’s probably fair to say that Islington BC light-welterweight Rachel Holifield is long overdue a hefty slice of luck.

The 28-year-old was out of action for a year due to two separate injuries – including a motorcycle accident – and also had four consecutive fights cancelled.

Then, when she did finally make a rare appearance in the ring on her home club’s show last week at the Boston Dome, Holifield found herself pitted against Megan Reid, an Army boxer boasting a 100 per cent record.

And, despite losing on a split decision, Holifield feels she is making good progress as she works towards her ultimate ambition – becoming a full-time professional stuntwoman.

“So far I’ve only done stuff in the background, as an extra – until you’re qualified you’re not allowed to do stunts for insurance reasons,” she told the Gazette. “If you get hurt, you get nothing.

“I had a speaking part on EastEnders recently, which I was really pleased about, and I’ve been on other TV shows like Holby City, Call the Midwife and that sort of thing.

“When you’re training to be a stuntwoman, one of the things you need to do is a martial art. If it’s boxing, you need competition success to qualify and I need to win about five contests – so I’ve still got a way to go.

“I had a neck injury in February last year, then the motorcycle accident in July when I broke my ankle. That’s obviously bad for everything else as you can’t swim or run.

“I was in a cast for two months and on crutches for another month or two after that. So it’s taken eight or nine months to get back to this position and I only started running again in December.

“It’s taken a while to get the stiffness out and the little nagging pains, particularly the way you have to move in the ring, and perhaps it’s not there yet.

“I think both legs are strained as I compensate with my left leg, and I’m not 100 per cent. But I’ve had a whole year of training and some sparring, so I think in some ways I am a better boxer now.”

Unfortunately for Holifield, her improvement was not enough to earn her the verdict against the powerful Reid, despite landing some telling blows in the last of their three rounds.

But she is convinced that her training environment at the Hazellville Road gym gives her the best chance of building a winning streak in due course.

“I grew up in Islington and that’s why I joined this club two and a half years ago – and, although I now live in south London, I still come back here,” added Holifield.

“It’s a really good club. When I started at Islington there were three other girls. Now there are 12 or 15 of different weights and sizes and there’s a real team spirit among the female boxers.

“We all spar together and we all try and help each other. I won my first bout but this was my third and I’m still looking for another win – so I haven’t got very far.

“I could feel how strong she [Reid] was. I saw her at the weigh-in and thought ‘is that one I’m 
going to box? Oh dear’ – but you try not to let it faze you!

“You just try your best when you get in the ring, try and keep moving around and get into the last round and find a little bit of something. It wasn’t to be, but karma is coming to me one day!”


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