Community

ITC: London Women & Girls Project

May 12 2024

Girl Power: Female boxing lights up Earlsfield ABC!

Earlsfield ABC was the destination as the London Women and Girls Project descended upon South London for a special event that underscored the importance of promoting female participation in boxing.

From start to finish, the club was buzzing with energy and excitement as Matchroom stars Ellie Scotney and Shannon Ryan added an extra sprinkling of stardust, with Ellie even bringing along her world title belts for youngsters to see! This wasn’t just another boxing event, but a celebration of female empowerment, athleticism and community spirit.

This Girl Can Box, the brainchild of event organiser Terri Kelly, orchestrated proceedings on the day, putting together a programme of 14 well-matched contests involving girls from up and down the country. Terri’s dedication to promoting female boxing is well-known, and this event further cemented her role as a pivotal figure in the community.

The London Women and Girls Project is proudly sponsored by Sport England, London Boxing and The Powerday Foundation, all of whom were there to provide their support on the day.

Thanks to our partners at Everlast, we were also able to provide a Matchroom in the Community t-shirt for every participant, as well as an Everlast Powerlock Reflex Ball. Two lucky ladies even received a signed pair of custom made Shannon Ryan gloves for playing their part in ‘Bout of the Day’.

Today is about increasing competitive opportunities for these girls.

- Terri Kelly

Speaking to the Matchroom cameras, Terri Kelly was keen to highlight that Sunday’s showcase was just a small part of the work she does to encourage more females to box.

“A lot of the girls that have come today, they also come to squads that I arrange where they get regular sparring,” explained Kelly.

“Today is about increasing competitive opportunities for them. It’s quite hard in the amateur sport to get these boxers out. For clubs, it can be quite expensive taking one boxer – there might be only one or two female boxers in the gym – so you’ve got to travel long distances to get them experience. If I do a show then I can invite teams down and they can get multiple boxers on the same event, ultimately saving them money,” she added.

“So many of the girls have given me their own stories about why they got into boxing. They’ve told me that they’ve been bullied, for example, and that they’ve used boxing to try and help themselves gain confidence – I feel so honoured that they tell me these stories.”

Visibly delighted, Kelly also wanted to express how wonderful it was to see Ellie and Shannon supporting the next generation of female boxing talent.

“I think to bring them down today has been absolutely fantastic really. I’m just so pleased they could be here. It’s really nice for the girls to hear what they are, how they got into boxing and how they got where they are,” said Kelly.

“How do you get the pros without investing in the foundations – and this is the foundation.”

London Boxing

London Boxing was established in 2016, and works to support and unite all amateur boxing clubs located within the M25.

Working with their key sponsor, The Powerday Foundation, London Boxing have held many high-level championships and team matches, which have showcased growing talent and given London-based boxers more competitive opportunities.

They have also enabled London clubs to host numerous club and dinner shows; held Level 1 and Level 2 coaching courses, safeguarding courses, run First Aid and Child Protection courses, as well as hosted medical clinics to support the boxers and clubs – but most of all, they see the potential sport has in uniting our communities and they work hard to support and harness true potential.

London Boxing’s story is one of support, opportunity and growth. As a team, they help boxers, clubs, coaches and officials across the capital identify their potential and guide them to the appropriate pathway for development.

The Powerday Foundation

The Powerday Foundation (formally the Crossan Family Foundation) was established out of the Powerday Development Programme, which was set up to provide support and funding to local sporting organisations and individuals in London.

They believe passionately in the power of sport to improve health and wellbeing and foster stronger communities . The Foundation have been working in partnership with London Boxing since 2011 to improve sports facilities and equipment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

In the last 10 years, the Foundation have sourced and invested over £14.5 million into London clubs in hard-to-reach areas, helping over 80 estate-based boxing venues, enabling volunteers to do more in better facilities and also increased levels of equipment. This has had a positive impact on 20,000 participants in the most marginalised and socio-economically challenged areas of London.

Stay consistent, be hungry, stay dedicated and don't take no for answer!

- Shannon Ryan

During an interview with BBC London, Shannon Ryan highlighted the fact that whilst women’s boxing is booming, there’s still room for plenty more to participate.

“No, I don’t think we do – there’s never going to be enough,” contested Ryan, speaking to BBC Reporter, Leigh Milner.

“I think we can get so many more. I think participation is rising and it’s amazing to see in every sport, especially boxing. The rise is there, it’s happening – and it will continue to grow,” she continued.

“I think some girls, they may be nervous to join a boxing gym – for whatever reason – and when they have a community event like this, or an all girls squad where they can all go down and mix amongst each other, it’s good because it makes people feel welcome, valued and they want to be involved because they’re being looked after.”

“To any other girls that want to get into boxing: stay consistent, be hungry, stay dedicated and don’t take no for answer!”

It really is This Girl Can Box!

- Ellie Scotney

“The event’s amazing. I remember being here, I think I was about nine, watching my brother in the championships – and there wasn’t a single female fighter on the card,” recalled Scotney.

“To walk in and we’ve got 18 contests matched – and the depth of talent, it really is This Girl Can Box!”

The importance of inspiring the next generation of female talent wasn’t lost on Scotney either, herself a product of this very system.

“Me and Shannon coming along today, we were those kids that were trying to get seen as a boxer – and for them to see there’s a doorway for them to walk through – it gives them the push,” she continued.

“I’m looking in and I’m thinking wow, you girls are amazing – and I think everyone’s just bouncing off each other. It shows if you keep at it you’ll be exactly where we are.”

One of the most remarkable aspects of the event was its all-female cast. Fourteen bouts featured female boxers, showcasing the depth of talent and the competitive spirit among these young athletes. This was not just about fighting for victory in the ring, but also about making a statement on the broader platform of gender equality in sports.

The event’s support team, including referees, judges, timekeepers and even the MC, were all women, underlining the event’s commitment to providing opportunities for women at every level of the sport. The many female coaches who mentored and guided the boxers also demonstrated the increasing presence and influence of women in coaching roles, traditionally dominated by men.

The significance of such an event cannot be overstated. With our platform at Matchroom, we can provide greater visibility and credibility to causes that might otherwise struggle for attention in a male-dominated sport. By amplifying the voices and talents of females in boxing, the London Women and Girls Project sends a powerful message about the inclusivity and evolving nature of the sport.

The success of Sunday’s event sets a promising precedent for the future. It’s a reminder that the world of boxing is evolving to become more inclusive and diverse. As more events like this unfold, they will continue to inspire young women to step into the ring and pursue their dreams with confidence and determination.