She spends her days caring for patients but by night, Claire Johnson enjoys nothing more than inflicting injuries – when she fights as a top female boxer.
The 26-year-old works shifts as an intensive care nurse treating casualties and saving lives at Birmingham’s Heartlands Hospital.
But come the end of her shifts, she starts administering jabs of a different kind when she swaps her surgical smock for boxing gloves as her alter ego ‘Two Tough’ Sister Johnson.
Claire, who lives in Kings Heath, was bitten by the boxing bug two years ago when she went to former pro Malcolm Melvin’s gym for fitness training in Halesowen.
And even though Claire says her medical career means she is aware of the risks associated with boxing, she still tries to knock out her opponent every time.
She said: “It is a concern because I know the physiological complications that can occur.
“It doesn’t mean I will go easy on anybody though. I like to take a risk – life is for living.
“I will always try and knock out my opponent. Otherwise it will be me flat out on the canvas.
“When I was growing up, I was always doing sport. I was one of the tomboys, so the sport suits me fine.
“I can anaesthetise people with my jabs in both senses of the word – during the day and at night.”
She has won three out of her four amateur fights for Celtic Union Boxing Club at Birmingham’s Irish Centre but she narrowly lost her biggest bout, against Cindy ‘Come And Get Some’ Payne for the title of Birmingham’s top woman boxer on Saturday.
It was the second time Claire and Cindy had traded blows after their first battle ended in a draw, and Claire thinks she did enough for the win during the four-round fight. She said: “I found the fight easy and was quite shocked by the decision.
“There were things I’d do differently, but I did what I thought was best and I can’t change the result. Some of the world’s best boxers lose sometimes.”
One notable absentee at ringside for Claire’s bout at the weekend was her boyfriend, who can’t bare to watch her fights. She added: “He couldn’t watch.
“He doesn’t know me like that, which is understandable. He just didn’t know how to take someone hitting me.
“My dad came to support me, but I think he found it very difficult to watch as well.”
Claire is also hoping to use her boxing experience to branch out as a personal trainer and become a fitness model.
A personal trainer who spars with Claire at her gym in Halesowen said she is more powerful than some men he has fought against.
Amateur boxer George Franklin, 19, trains alongside the nurse to get her ready for her big bouts.
He said: “I came here a year ago and she was already here then. I’ve sparred with her before her fights and she is a good boxer. She packs a punch and has definitely got the power of a bloke.
“I’ve been hit weaker by a man, that’s for sure.
“You’ve definitely got to keep your guard up when you’re in the ring with her.”
Louise Orucu, lead nurse for critical care at Heartlands Hospital and Claire’s line manager, said: “Claire is a committed nurse and I am proud of her achievements in and outside of the boxing ring.”