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Shannon Ryan: Winning British and Commonwealth titles would be statement for me

Shannon Ryan used to work in an O2 store and is now ready to try to clinch Commonwealth and British title success this weekend.

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British super-flyweight Shannon Ryan has been up close with some of the biggest names in boxing and is ready to move a step closer to stardom with victory over Emma Dolan on Saturday.

Ryan only turned professional two years ago but claimed the vacant WBA international title with a points win over Jasmina Zapotoczna in February.

Zapotoczna was a last-minute replacement after Dolan pulled out due to illness but the original clash will take place this weekend at Resorts World Arena in Birmingham.

Dolan’s Commonwealth belt will be on the line and the inaugural British super-flyweight title, which is the latest example of women’s boxing’s upward trajectory given the BBBoC (British Boxing Board of Control) only sanctioned its first female title fight last summer.

“I came into it at a good time because coming up to eight fights in, women’s boxing is on the rise,” Matchroom boxer Ryan (7-0) told the PA news agency.

“When I started, we weren’t able to fight for the British title and now we’re eligible to do that. So it shows the direction it is going in and I’m very grateful to be a part of it.

“And to be one of the first females to fight for the British in the super-fly division is crazy, so I’m super excited.

“To get the British and Commonwealth would be a statement for me and yeah, I’m super confident and ready for June 22.”

It was not that long ago that Ryan’s time in the ring revolved around kick-boxing and taekwondo but she has achieved plenty since a switch to boxing.

Snapped up by Anthony Joshua’s 258 Management, the Watford-born fighter’s third bout occurred on the undercard of the historic clash between Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields, which was the headline of an all-female card at the O2 Arena.

While the aforementioned four female boxers are big names in different weight categories to the 27-year-old, it has added fuel to her burning desire to become world champion.

Ryan added: “The night at the O2 was fantastic and as boxers we’ll fight anywhere, but there is a different level of motivation when you are on a card with such high athletes.

“It just gives you that level of thought, motivation and inspiration to think ‘this is where I can be and will be in years to come’.

“And then to be right there at the front for the Katie Taylor and Chantelle Cameron card, that within itself is something I never thought I would be able to do.

“When you are that close, it is just different. Different from the screen, different from sitting in seats and again that within itself is motivation.”

Another intriguing aspect of Ryan’s rapid rise is the fact she worked in an O2 store in Watford as recently as 2022.

O2 were quick to jump on board the journey of their former store leader and extended the partnership with Ryan on Monday.

She reflected: “O2 have supported me from the very beginning.

“Big companies like that get on board when you’re a world champion or on that trajectory to be there. Of course I am (now) but they have supported me since before my debut and they are a pivotal part of my journey, my success and my improvement.”

While Ryan has total conviction over her ability and future prospects, she is well aware it will only come to fruition if she delivers against Dolan.

The pair have traded blows in recent months but actions will speak louder than words on Saturday and Ryan is ready to move a step closer to world honours.

“I do believe after a good performance on Saturday that the (world title) conversations will start to crop up,” Ryan added.

“We did win the WBA international and that puts me in the top 10 of three of the governing bodies, so it could be any time.

“I feel I’m ready now. Two or three fights ago, I would’ve said not yet, but if it was after this fight, I would be ready for it mentally and physically.”

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