“You can do anything, just follow your dreams”

19 May 2023
Alice standing with a brown horse in it's stable

Interview with young and ambitious female boxer and her biggest supporters.

At six months old, Alice, 10, underwent heart surgery and has ongoing challenges with her health. However, this does not provide any barriers to her boxing. Alice’s passion and dedication for boxing shines through. For Alice boxing is life.

“I just started boxing when I was four,” says Alice, who lives in London. “I saw the famous boxers and I thought I want to do it too; I started training and I got better and better at it. I want to go really far, I want to be better than Katie Taylor.”

When asked what she finds difficult about it, Alice replies that there is nothing that she finds difficult about boxing. “Nothing’s hard about boxing, it’s easy for me, and it’s a good thing. Boxing makes me happy,” says Alice.

Young girl with brown pony tail with her fists up by her face, in her living room
Alice © Eszter Halasi

To fulfill her dedication to boxing she trains hard. “I go four times a week to the gym and Jamie, my coach, trains me,” says Alice. “I go jogging everyday if I’m not training.” Alice then mentions to us about her training diet for boxing. “Be careful what you eat,” says Alice. “Spaghetti bolognaise is my favourite,” adding with a big smile on her face that her mum makes the best!

When talking to Jamie about training Alice he said, “It feels like I’m training my own daughter, we have a great relationship, I’m one of the family and close to her parents.” Jamie has been training Alice for many years now and is preparing Alice for competitive amateur boxing. “I’m really proud of Alice, I’ve been training her for 4-5 years now. She’s a very promising kid and I think she’ll have a good career if she sticks at it, that’s what we are all hoping for.”

White male left holding boxing pads. white young female right wearing red boxing gloves training
Jamie and Alice © Eszter Halasi

“She’s 10 years old, she’s sparring kids of 11 and 12 who are bigger than her, and we are aiming towards speed, and the difference is going to show when she gets her card and starts competing. She’ll be fighting girls that are her own age and her weight, and that’s when I think you are going to see a difference, at the championships. Next year she can get carded on her birthday and go the amateur route, she works really hard and does what’s asked of her in training, I’m happy to see the direction she’s going in at the moment.” – says Jamie.

young white female wearing a red sparring helmet and wrapping her hand in red tape
Alice © Eszter Halasi

Jamie is very supportive of Alice’s boxing ambitions which are backed by Alice’s parents. We talked to Alice’s father, Johnny, and how much he and the whole family are proud of Alice’s progression in boxing. “She’s good, I’m so proud of her,” says Johnny. “At first I didn’t want her to do boxing, but she took over and she enjoys it and she’s good at it. Alice had open-heart surgery, she has a scar from it; she’s been fighting from day one. I do worry about her too, but every parent worries about their kids.”

Both trainer and father have a lot of belief in Alice’s potential. “Any girl that Jamie trains her with is always older and bigger, and Alice handles them no problem. Girls in boxing is a new thing, you’ve got Savannah Marshall, Katie Taylor; Alice has got my support 100 percent,” say’s Alice’s father, Johnny.

young white female wearing black sports clothes standing in a boxing ring with red gloves on
Alice © Eszter Halasi

It is clear that Alice’s ambitions of boxing is rooted in her family’s history. “My dad is very proud of her, and any of the boys that come here to the training gym stop and watch Alice. My brothers are boxers too, so I think she’s following her uncle Paddy really. My family are all Alice die-hard fans,” says Johnny.

When Alice isn’t busy training or boxing another big interest of hers is horses. She likes to help at a family horse farm where her dad trains them. We ask Alice how she likes to help with the horses. “Sometimes I jog them, I walk them around, I brush them, I clean them out, feed them, loads of stuff really,” says Alice.

Alice has a really clear vision of where she wants to go with boxing. “I want to go a long way; I want to go professional in the Olympics.”

young white female holding a purple bucket feeding a brown horse in a stable
Alice © Eszter Halasi

Alice is already preparing for this goal and she talks about her boxing matches. “The girls are older than me,” says Alice. “When I was nine I had to fight a 13 year old, and she was heavier than me”.

We asked Alice what she would say to inspire other Traveller girls who may dream of taking up boxing. “You can do anything, just follow your dreams,” says Alice. “I would recommend boxing to other girls and I’d tell them to follow their dream. It’s important to do what you want and follow your dream; my Mum says I should follow my dream and I can do anything I want.”

This article first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2023 Travellers’ Times Magazine which is out now. You can subscribe here.

By Stacey Hodgkins and Liza Mortimer/TT News

(lead photo © Eszter Halasi)