Women in Boxing Conference helping to inspire the next generation

December 2, 2022 | by Matt Halfpenny


The second England Boxing Women in Boxing Conference, along with the England Boxing Women in Boxing Awards 2022, took place this evening (Friday 2nd December) at Leigh Leisure Centre.

New Women and Girls Officer and organiser Laura Sargeant opened the event along with fellow England Boxing Talent Pathway Coach Rachel Bower.

They were followed by words from England Boxing Chief Executive Officer, Jerome Pels, who spoke welcomed everyone to the venue and thanked them for their support of women’s boxing.

The Army’s Emma Smith was next to take the stage – the centre ring for tomorrow’s England Boxing Women’s Winter Box Cup 2022 – as the event’s first speaker.

She explained her journey from boxer to coach and finally official where she now regularly referees and judges at national championships as well as regional events.

Huddersfield-based Gladiators ABC Coach, Naadrah Hafeez, was next to talk and told of how the England Boxing Women’s Coach Development Programme (WCDP) has helped her progress.

She is now a mentor for the second WCDP coaches and has been coaching at both England Boxing and GB Boxing sessions.

England boxers Kelsey Oakley (Senior), Ruby White (Junior) and Layla Straughan (Schools) were then interviewed in a Q&A session, using questions submitted by attendees.

The official part of the evening closed with the winners of the England Boxing Women in Boxing Awards 2022 being revealed.

The results were decided after nominations were invited from all England Boxing members and these nominations were then judged by a panel.

Boxer of the year was The People’s Gym Emily Whitworth, who won the EUBC Youth European Championships 2022 in April and then followed that up with an IBA Youth World Championships 2022 bronze medal last month.

Coach of the year was Peterborough Police’s Vicki Baker, while the London region’s Amy Pu was named as Official of The Year.

Louise Gibbs was awarded the Women in Boxing Spotlight Award for her outstanding contribution to empowering women in boxing.

Following a closing statement by Sargeant, there was the chance to get photographs and network before the close of the event.

“We all know that boxing is still a male-dominated sport at this point in time, and that we face barriers because we are women in the sport, and that we are still a long way off where we want to be,” said Sargeant.

“But this event tonight was all about celebrating the tremendous progress that has been made over the last few years and continues to be made.

“I’m sure with the support of everyone who was in attendance, and everyone who promotes Women’s Boxing around the country, we are on the right path to where we eventually want to be.”