Islington boxer shocked by her England call-up for Denmark trip

Cherrelle Brown

Cherrelle Brown - Credit: Archant

Islington BC’s Cherrelle Brown believes her recent defeat to Chantelle Cameron was a blessing in disguise after earning a shock call-up to the England team.

The 28-year-old light-welterweight, who only took up boxing less than three years ago, has been named in the national side to travel to Denmark this weekend.

Brown’s most recent outing was her loss to Cameron in Northampton at the start of this month, but she views her clash with the experienced GB international as a key factor in propelling her into the selectors’ thoughts.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening – it was a big shock and I just didn’t know what to say when I heard the news,” Brown told the Gazette.

“To be asked to box for your country is an amazing honour, especially coming on the back of a loss – I think the England selectors must have been impressed by my performance.

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“Chantelle’s a full-time boxer in Sheffield, training four times a week with conditioning coaches, sports psychologists and all that and there’s me, trying to juggle everything else in my life.

“I’d only had about 15 bouts to her 40-odd and I think I needed to be put on that platform. Fighting Chantelle is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I wouldn’t call it a loss – I’d call it a learning experience.”

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Brown became an ABA champion in her first season with the Hazellville Road club, where she now works voluntarily and plans to start running a personal training course in the new year.

And she is quick to credit her Islington team-mates and coaches for their role in helping to get her boxing career – and her life – on track since she joined the club.

“The club turned my life around,” Brown admitted. “I was in trouble with the police before but things changed when I had the coaches putting me through my paces.

“I’ve had days where I’d think nothing was going to happen and my coaches have told me to keep going and never give up. So much of boxing is the mental aspect.

“If you can deal with stuff in the ring, you can deal with anything and, without my team, I wouldn’t be where I am.

“Lenny Hagland’s such a big part of the club and Winston Worrell’s like a father figure to me.

“Being picked to wear the vest of my country is amazing and it’s shown me that you reap what you sow. If you put in 100 per cent, work really hard and stay disciplined, you can get somewhere.”

Brown will be facing Camilla Skov Jensen (FAK Aarhus) on Saturday – a fighter who lost to her Islington team-mate Hazel Gale last season.

Gale, who was also called up to the England side, is unable to box due to injury, but has at least been able to pass on a few tips about the Danish boxer.

“I’ve spoken to Hazel and she thinks I’ve got a really good chance but I don’t want to take my opponent for granted,” added Brown.

“So I’ll be going in on the assumption that she’s a completely different boxer now and try to work her out in the first round. I’m really looking forward to the experience.”

Islington boxer Valerian Spicer helped to open the new-look women’s changing facilities at the club’s Hazellville Road base last week.

The new changing room was partially funded by Islington Council and Artisans of London Ltd, who also designed it and carried out the building work. Project manager Stephen Mills also attended the official opening.

Islington’s Reggie Hagland said: “Female participation has exploded at this club over the last couple of years and really we did not have a large enough changing area to cope.

“Now we have. We owe thanks to Islington Council and especially the sponsorship of Artisans, who went above and beyond the level of work expected.

“Now the men are getting jealous. They need not worry – we do have plans to refurbish the male changing rooms very soon as well, as and when club finances allow.”

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