Academy student fights her way to number one in mega-tournament
Sunday 31st October saw student Nancy Shepherd, compete in a bumper edition of the England Boxing National Junior Championships 2021. As one of many consequences of the Covid-19 Pandemic, all national boxing events had been scheduled into the final months of the year, meaning one huge spectacle took place with Junior Development Class A and Class B boxers competing against their Cadet and Junior Open Counterparts.
Selected by a team of England Talent coaches, Nancy, of Gillingham-based Kent Gloves Boxing Club, competed alongside 7 other athletes in the National Junior Championships, held at Hereford Sixth Form College on the final day of October. Nancy was awarded with not only an England Boxing certificate in recognition of her efforts, but a gold medal for her unanimous win against Kiera Bowden.
This is not Nancy’s first taste of success. Since discovering her love for boxing at age 10, Nancy has travelled far and wide to compete in over 16 fights so far, collecting numerous titles along the way.
“I started boxing young because it helps me get my anger and frustration out safely. If I’m having a bad day, I’ll go the gym and feel much better. I always have done.”
She won her first UK title in 2018, travelling to Ireland for the Esker Boxing Cup and returning home with a gold medal after competing in front of a crowd of 2,000. With this experience under her belt, Nancy then competed in the Golden Girls tournament, packing up for a trip to Sweden and returning home with another gold.
She says, “The biggest challenge I have faced was at my largest competition to date in Ireland. I felt really nervous before the fight and I didn’t want to do it, but since I completed that and won, I feel my confidence has grown.”
Another challenge Nancy has faced already in her boxing career, is the restriction placed on her due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Like many athletes, the pandemic stopped Nancy in her tracks as all tournaments were cancelled, gyms were forced to close and the world seemed to stop turning. Despite this, she kept her fitness up by doing home workouts and going running, techniques she has used throughout her boxing career to expel her energy and emotions.
“When Covid struck, I lost my confidence and my fitness. I’ve had to build it all back up.”
After her recent successes, Nancy has big plans to win a world title and compete in the Olympics as soon as she is old enough. Watch out Paris 2024!