Boxing: Courtenay relishing second pro outing

Shannon Courtenay (left) in action against Cristina Busuioc during their Bantamweight bout at the Co

Shannon Courtenay (left) in action against Cristina Busuioc during their Bantamweight bout at the Copper Box Arena, London. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Bantamweight prospect Shannon Courtenay says her professional debut at the Copper Box Arena last month was a valuable learning experience.

Courtenay, 25, had a winning start in the paid ranks with a unanimous decision over Romania’s Cristina Busuioc and is excited to step through the ropes for the second time as a professional at The O2 in London on April 20, live on Sky Sports.

“I actually thought the ref was going to stop it in the first round,” said Courtenay.

“Annoyingly, her groin guard came up so high that none of my body shots were getting through. It was protecting her the whole fight so I had to go upstairs and target the head.

“I was hitting her with some massive shots and her legs were gone but she stayed in there. She wasn’t very good technically but she was tough.

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“I stayed calm instead of gassing out going for a big knockout. Obviously it would have been nice to get her out of there but I stayed slick throughout and got the win which was the main thing.

“I didn’t try and rush a knockout and make myself look bad in doing so. I feel I put on a good performance – my team were happy with me.

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“I really enjoyed the whole experience of making my debut on such a big show. I took everything in my stride, the public workout, the press conference and the weigh-in. To make my debut in front of thousands of people in the arena and even more people watching on TV around the world was special. It gave me a taste of what it’s like to operate at the top of the sport and I’m hungry for more.”

The ex-Islington amateur has been overwhelmed with the support she has received since her debut and hopes to continue her incredible journey with another big win on a huge card that features gym mate Josh Kelly on his long-awaited return.

“We’ve worked on a couple of new things that you’ll definitely see on April 20,” added Courtenay. “I’ve tweaked a few things and made them better. Training has gone really well, sparring has gone brilliantly as well so I’m really excited to put on a big performance.

“I’d like to have another three or four fights by the end of the year. I want to stay as active as possible and then see what happens at the end of the year. Maybe after seven or eight fights we can start looking at titles but right now I’m just looking at April 20, nothing else is coming into my head.

“Since my debut the support has been crazy. Every day I get hundreds of messages from people telling me I’m an inspiration to them and it’s amazing to know my story is making a difference to people.

“I just want to keep on pushing forward with that momentum. I wouldn’t say I’m an inspirational person but people can obviously relate to my story. It’s never too late to make a change and improve your life.”

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