Jonas adds support at inaugural Women in Boxing Conference
December 21, 2021 | by Matt Halfpenny
Former GB Olympian and now professional world title challenger Natasha Jonas has hailed the impact of the inaugural England Boxing Women in Boxing Conference, which took place on Saturday (18th December).
Women and girls – including boxers, club members, coaches, officials and volunteers – from across the boxing membership gathered at Loughborough University’s Holywell Park Conference Centre to share ideas and learnings and be inspired to engage with more female participants in the sport.
Headline keynote speaker Jonas described her journey to success through adversity and the importance of role models to attendees, and felt the event conveyed a powerful message.
“I think it’s very important to promote, encourage, motivate, support, celebrate and help the sport grow – and I think with events like this we can do that,” she said.
“When I started boxing, there was no visibility at all – on screen, in the media – and if it (women’s boxing) was covered, it wasn’t positively.
“Now, we have schoolgirls, juniors, youths… There’s a lot more opportunities for young girls to get started in boxing. The sport has undoubtedly grown, but there’s still a lot more to do.”
Powerful contributions were also made by UK Coaching’s Emily Handyside and England Boxing Board Member, referee and judge Amy Pu.
Both captivated the room with their own experiences and the advice to “be the best that you can be” still ringing loudly in the ears of everyone in attendance by the end of the day.
Throughout the day, delegates were also invited to take part in facilitated breakout rooms.
Dr Isra Hale discussed being a female doctor in a man’s world and gave an insight into several common topics that relate specifically to women’s participating in boxing.
Naadrah Hafeez and Kate Newton, meanwhile, gave an insight into their respective journeys so far on the England Boxing Female Coach Development Programme.
A fitting conclusion to the day was provided with the award of four Women in Boxing Spotlight Awards.
London Boxing’s Terri Kelly and Coach Educator Amanda Groake both accepted their awards virtually, with England Boxing’s Laura Sargeant and Amanda Coulson also worthy recipients.
“I am absolutely delighted to see the continued rise of women in boxing in England at all levels”, commented Coulson.
“This conference was an opportunity to host an event to inspire, celebrate and empower all attendees – and I firmly believe we’ve achieved that. I am excited to be part of what will go down as an historic event, and look forward to ensuring this is the first of many.”
Using the theme of breaking down barriers, the event was part of England Boxing’s ongoing commitment to address the gender imbalance in the sport and to open up more opportunities for female participation at all levels.