Express & Star

Black Country girls ready to take on world’s finest

A group of teenage Black Country boxers are preparing to take on the very best at the world’s biggest tournament for women.

Coaches Richard Holland and Sally Webb with the six-strong Priory Park squad.

The six fighters from Priory Park Boxing Club will be among 300 boxers from 24 different countries competing at the Golden Girl Box Cup, which takes place in Boras, Sweden, between February 3-5.

It is the first time Priory have ever sent a team to the competition and reflects the growing number of talented female boxers in its ranks.

“The girls are doing really well at the moment. In terms of the titles they’ve been winning, they’re certainly outdoing the boys,” said club chairman Paul Gough.

“We’re looking to get them competing in more tournaments. We’ve always sent a team to the Dublin Box Cup but we’ve never been to the Golden Girl before.

“This is the biggest tournament for women in the world and some of the best boxers in their age group will be there.”

The trip to the Sweden comes two months after seven Priory boxers helped the Midlands claim victory at the Winter Box Cup.

Three of those involved – Gieona Kaja-Cuedajri, Courtney Dalloway and Chloe Holland – will also be in action at the Golden Girl along with club-mates Destiny Jackson, Regan Wakefield and Mary Love.

Priory held a number of fundraising events in order to raise the money required to send the boxers, their families and three coaching staff – including female trainer Sally Webb – over to Scandanavia.

“One of our coaching staff is in a band and put a concert on at Darlaston Town Hall as part of the fundraising,” explained Gough.

“Any money leftover is going back into the pot to be used for future competitions.

“It should be great experience for them. Those who fought at the Winter Box Cup got a taste for big competition and this will only help them further.”

The flagbearer for Priory’s team of female boxers is Kelsey Oakley, a five-time England Boxing title winner who was recently awarded a place on GB Boxing’s elite performance squad.

Gough believes her achievements can now help to inspire others.

“What you tend to find is success breeds success,” he said. “When a gym has female fighters who are doing well, others want to go there. We’ve got a bit of a name for that now, so we are getting more people contact us all the time.

“We treat all boxers the same and look to bring them through gradually. We’re going to be running some female-only boxing groups because that is what some prefer but generally we don’t want to split things up. We want the girls to have all the opportunities the boys do.

“Some will never compete but it does not mean to say they will not have a place in our gym.”