Female coach spotlight: Claire Salisbury (Pat Benson’s Boxing Academy)

July 3, 2021 | by Matt Halfpenny


In the second of the series looking at the coaches who are taking part in the inaugural England Boxing Female Coach Development Programme (FCDP), Pat Benson’s Claire Salisbury explains her transition from kickboxing to boxing and how she is looking forward to tapping into the knowledge of other female coaches.

How did you get into boxing?

I was a kickboxer for nine years and whilst in a fight camp getting ready for an ICO World Tournament that was due to be held in Italy, I tore my ACL during a training drill. It took a year for the operation to take place, where I had my ACL grafted, then I spent a year in physio.

After this I was very nervous about returning to kickboxing and decided to get my fitness back by attending boxing classes, so I joined Henrietta Street Gym and started there. It was during these classes that I met (Midlands CSO and coach) Mick Maguire ,who asked me about becoming an amateur, and it just went on from there. I have never returned to kickboxing, as I love boxing more.

How pleased are you to be involved in a programme that Is actively bidding to push women’s and girls’ boxing forward?

I am thrilled and very honoured.  I believe that this is a critical time for women’s boxing. It has been a long time coming and it is definitely on the rise. We are starting to see more and more women and girls participating in the sport, which is just brilliant.

The professional ranks are even seeing an increase and the quality of the bouts are on a par with the men’s as is often reflected by the pundit’s discussions about the distinction of women’s versus men’s boxing and that it is just boxing – there is no need for the gender qualification.

But in my humble opinion, as the women/girls are taking up participating in the sport, we still are not seeing the equivalent on the coaching side. Men are coaching and cornering the bouts in the majority. This programme is aimed at addressing that, and this is so exciting and important. The female boxers have done an excellent job of proving that they can do the sport just as well as the men, and now we need to be able to demonstrate that we can also coach and corner boxers as well too.

A programme like this where the best female coaches in the country are getting together to help and support upcoming coaches, to strengthen their knowledge and skill sets, and form a network such that our presence and abilities cannot be denied and will be heard and represented, which is brilliant.

What do you hope to get out of  the FCDP that can improve you as a coach?

I hope to develop my knowledge and experience of different boxers styles and what techniques and tactics they should employ during bouts, which I hope to achieve through networking and discussing and sharing of experience and knowledge, as well as having opportunities to shadow at various gyms.

As my knowledge and experience deepens, I hope that my confidence in delivery when coaching classes and 1-2-1s grows and I become more competent at utilising varying coaching styles when teaching boxers.

How much will attending the FCDP help you when you return to your club environment?

I think attending the FCDP will assist me greatly as it is a network of coaches with a great deal of skill and knowledge that I can tap into when I need advice on how to handle various difficulties I may be experiencing with my coaching.

In addition to this, I am hoping to be able to reach out to contacts within the FCDP to attend various gyms and shadow coaches and learn new and varied coaching techniques and training drills such that I can employ them in classes back at our gym.

Who are your biggest boxing inspirations?

Mick Maguire and Jamie Cahill are coaches that have coached me when I was a boxer and now act as mentors for me as a coach. They have had a huge influence and impact on my boxing and coaching career.

Professional boxers that I find inspirational are: Katie Taylor, Natasha Jonas, Chantelle Cameron,  Anthony Joshua, Saul Canelo, Vasyl Lomachenko, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis.

Professional Coaches that I have researched and admired are Cus D’amato, Emanuel Steward, Ross Enamait and Rob McCracken.