Joanna Brown Trust award boosts Islington Boxing Club fighter ahead of English title clash

Cherrelle Brown with Helen Sudall of the Joanna Brown Trust (centre) and Islington Schools Sports As

Cherrelle Brown with Helen Sudall of the Joanna Brown Trust (centre) and Islington Schools Sports Association chairman Mike MacNeill - Credit: Archant

It’s already been a good week for Islington BC’s Cherrelle Brown – and she plans to top it off by becoming English light-welterweight champion.

The Islington fighter, an England international, has received a grant from the Joanna Brown Trust to help fund an intense training programme that she hopes will ultimately lead to a shot at the Olympic Games.

And the challenge she faces on Sunday should give some indication as to Brown’s Olympic credentials – a 64kg title fight at York Hall against Alanna Murphy, who was a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist two years ago.

Brown is relishing her first appearance at the Bethnal Green venue, although she knows Murphy – who defeated former Islington BC star Valerian Spicer to win her bronze medal at Glasgow 2014 – will pose a stern test.

“I sparred Alanna last year and I’ve got a lot of respect for her,” Brown told the Gazette. “She’s been around the boxing scene for a long while, but hopefully on Sunday it’ll be my time.

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“It’s just another fight and I’m focused on performing well and sticking to the strategy.

“With that said, this is an opportunity and you’ve got to be happy when opportunities are handed to you.

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“York Hall is such an iconic venue – a lot of famous people have boxed there, but there are an awful lot who can’t say they’ve done it. To feel I’ve been part of history would be great.”

Brown is also hoping to be one half of a double for the Hazellville Road club, with Islington team-mate Sherif Musah due to contest the English heavweight title on the same day against Gary Daley (Southend ABC).

And, in the long term, her prospects have been boosted by her successful bid for funding from the trust – which was set up in memory of a young sports enthusiast from Highbury to provide support for young athletes in the area.

Teenage gymnast Tomique Gibson, who won a national championship last year, also received a grant from the trust, which is overseen by Sport Islington.

“I’m self-employed and I train two or three times a day, five times a week,” added Brown, who won an England Boxing Elite Championship crown last year.

“Equipment can be expensive – you use it up so quickly – and also I get up to Sheffield at least once a month to train with the GB squad, which is a different level.

“To have Sport Islington step in – as well as GLL, who help with funding – is awesome and a big thank you to them. Without that help I’m not sure I’d be able to continue at the level I do.

“I spoke to Tomique, who also competes at a high level, and she said she would find it hard as well if it wasn’t for the help with funding.

“I know from some of my friends that they don’t all get that support, but Islington are really big like that – you feel you’re being acknowledged and I wish there were more boroughs like that in London.”

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