Shannon Courtenay Interview
By Dean Wigzell
This week’s announcement that standout Amateur Shannon Courtenay has made the switch over to the professional ranks is one which will certainly excite fans who pay close attention to the unpaid game.
However, with the excitement and anticipation that comes with every new face in the paid game there comes the lasting impression that the amateur game is fast losing its appeal to many young fighters.
When we last spoke two years ago, she was already contemplating a move to the paid ranks but was incredibly tempted by a run at getting to the Olympics in 2020. However, even back then it was clear that she was losing faith in the amateur set up and a difficult time in May of last year finally tipped her over the edge.
‘I’ve wanted to go professional for a long time and then in May I flew to Jersey to box as a London representative, taking time off work etc. I had the weigh-in, met my opponent on the scales and everything & then two hours after the weigh in she pulled out. I was just so fed up of amateur boxing as it was but that was the last straw!’
With such a stellar amateur career already under her belt, including an ABA Final, Gold at the famous Haringey Box Cup and being the first non-elite boxer to win a Southern Area title, it would’ve been easy for Courtenay to just keep racking up the achievements, but instead she has taken the bold step to switchover.
The one thing that has struck me about Courtenay is the way she describes her fighting style ‘I’m an aggressive come forward strong box fighter that doesn’t mind taking a shot to land one’ and you have to say that it is very much reflected in her approach to the game outside of the ring as well.
Having initially fought for both Finchley ABC and Islington ABC Courtenay has been training in Booth’s gym for around a year now the work put in under him meant it made perfect sense for the man formerly known as ‘The Dark Lord’ to take on the management of her career too.
‘Since training with the Boxing Booth stable full-time now my style has changed but for the better and I’m still developing a lot but learning to be a smart fighter!
It was Adam that said he’d manage me and I wanted him to, he has an unbelievably knowing eye when it comes to boxing and I trust him undoubtedly but he’s also a very shrewd clever man who’s got a great track record of managing his fighters so it was perfect for me.’
With a date for her professional debut yet to appear on the horizon and no promotional deal in place (‘He’s been in talks with a certain promoter but Adam deals with all of that I just want to fight’) Courtenay will turn to stable mates such as Josh Kelly and Ryan Burnett for advise as she works towards that maiden fight.
‘Success only breeds success and you become a product of your environment so being around the likes of Ryan & Josh will only help me, I learn so much from watching them. I’m always asking Ryan questions and the advice & knowledge from experience he passes onto me is invaluable. There’s always a great atmosphere in the gym & you feed off the positive energy.’
With Women’s boxing currently enjoying resurgence it is clear that the Watford fighter is more than ready to transfer her amateur success and start to make her own way.
‘Women’s boxing is at an all-time high at the moment so I want to strike the iron whilst it’s hot & make a name for myself in the pro ranks. Every boxer has aspirations to become a world champion and I’m no different’ she told me when we spoke recently.
‘I want to be a world champion more than anything but I’m not going to be one of those boxers that starts shouting out they want this fight next or that title next, I trust the process and I’m excited for my future.’
In the mean time she will be kept on a leash back at Boxing Booth HQ but whilst she may need to wait, she will definitely be chomping at the bit.
‘I’ve had my debut a millions times in my head’ she laughs turning her attention to that first fight, ‘I’ll mainly aim just to soak it all in and to not let the occasion to get to me, stay calm and enjoy the whole experience, you only have your debut once so I don’t want to go out there and rush it looking to stop her, I’ll stick to my boxing & show my skill.’
Watch this space! You can follow Shannon Courtenay on twitter @scourtenay or on Instagram @shannon_courtenay