An Interview With April Hunter

An Interview With April Hunter

By Oliver McManus

April Hunter made history in October as the first female boxer from the North East to turn professional. The ambitious fighter began by telling FightPost how, despite a late start, she quickly fell in love with the sport.

“I started quite late: when I were 21. I’d had a knee injury when I was playing football, for Newcastle Academy, and I just wanted to lose some weight. I’d been interested in boxing before, I’ve always enjoyed it and two of my uncles were ABA champions so it runs in the blood.

“I had my first amateur fight six months after I first picked up the gloves. It went very, very quickly. After my first couple of wins I started to think that it was something I’d love to do as a career.”

Three years as an amateur saw Hunter mix it with top-level fighters despite limited outings. The initial goal was to season as an amateur and round out her style before turning professional but an offer too good to turn down soon swayed the 24 year old.

“I wasn’t actually planning on turning professional. I was going to be an amateur for another year – double my number of fights. I’d only had 15 in total so ideally I would have stayed amateur, got to 30, but Steve Wraith came and told me they were doing an ITV show on North East boxing. I don’t know what’s happening with that now but essentially that was the reason I turned pro because they said they’d pay for my license, there was momentum. I put the feelers out and I got the shot on the Matchroom show.”

Her debut followed with a slot on the undercard of Lewis Ritson vs Robbie Davies Jr: one of the biggest fights to grace Newcastle in recent memory. Hunter boxed Borislava Goranova, a wily veteran of the sport, and the occasion lived up to every expectation, she explained.

“It was great. I loved every minute of it. I was dead nervous and I felt a bit of pressure; doors opened at four but I’d sold 500 tickets so they were making some noise. Eddie Hearn was ringside watching, my family and friends were there – (I’m) not sure who made me more nervous.

“I felt as though I was trying a little bit too much because of that and I just didn’t let the shots flow. I should have relaxed because I was comfortable but trying to force things and she’s a tough old woman. If I’d have had another round I think I’d have got her but she’s gone the distance twice with Cecilia Braekhaus so she is tough.”

Lessons learned from a convincing performance that Hunter insists she’ll heed going forward. The fourth round stood out as a particular learner with attacks to the body finding key success. It was this candid reflection on her performance – comfortable and confident in many respects – that sums up the character of Hunter.

“I’ll live and learn with every fight” was a phrase on more than a handful of occasions and, judging by her attitude, it couldn’t be more apt.

“I’m keen for a stoppage. I wanted that in the last one and hopefully I’ll get that on the 13th. I had my opponent changed for the Matchroom show but it’s Monika Antonik for now though anything can happen. I’ll say yes to anyone, to be fair, genuinely. I didn’t realise Goranova was a super middleweight until after I’d agreed to it!

“Once you’ve landed that big shot you shouldn’t forget what got you there – the shots that set it up. These journeymen know what they’re doing and they know how to survive so you shouldn’t rush in and try and force anything. When you do that they’ll grab on and I wish I’d started going to the body earlier on because I only did that in the last round.”

Since turning professional The Howcon Hurricane has teamed up with Nik Gittus and his burgeoning stable of talent. From Joe Laws and Lawrence Osueke to Jamie Bates and Rob Ismay, Gittus is helping churn out North East talent at a rate of knots. It is this link-up that Hunter credits with helping develop her style; her lack of amateur pedigree has made her more susceptible to change, she said.

“It’s great (training with Nik Gittus), it’s really amazing. I feel as though my style has changed five or six times since I’ve got there – my head movement has improved hugely. I literally feel as though I’m cloning those around me, Joe Laws, Jamie Bates, Rob Ismay, any of them, because they’re all class acts. I’ve got massive respect for my amateur gym but making the move was the best decision I’ve ever made.

“Nik calls us a sponge. I pick things up so quickly and I’m learning new things every day. It’s true, I soak it up. I’ve had (amateur) fights where I’ve put the pressure on but then I’ve had ones where I’m on the backfoot. I do love a tear up, though, having a scrap and biting down on the gumshield.”

The welterweight fights next on December 13th in her first taste of the ‘small hall scene.’

On a nine fight bill in Rainton Meadows, Hunter will face Monika Antonik over four scheduled rounds. Having sold five hundred tickets for her Matchroom debut, Hunter’s followed this up with 250 for the upcoming dinner show.

Her plan for 2020, and beyond, is simple: to take risks and challenge herself. There certainly is no arrogance or cockiness from Hunter but a confidence that is necessary for success.

More importantly the Wallsend boxer isn’t afraid to stick her neck above the parapet and embrace any opportunity coming her way. And, to put it in her own words, “it’s quite exciting.”

“I’ll have another fight in January, February. I’m not fussed because I want as many as I can in the next 12 months to keep me busy and keep me tested. I’ll have a couple more at this level but then it’s time to step it up – I know I’m not out of my league at the top level but it’s the timing of it. I need to do it at the right time, fine tune some things, and I could be the most powerful welterweight there is.

“I’m still 24, me and Nik were saying we can be patient but, at the same time, if I take a risk and take a loss then so what? I am young and I’ll have plenty of time to come back from it. I could still be boxing in 12, 14 years so what would a loss mean as long I’m learning from it? I’ve only been boxing for three years so think where I could be in three more years; it’s exciting, isn’t it?”

April Hunter made history in October as the first female boxer from the North East to turn professional. The ambitious fighter began by telling FightPost how, despite a late start, she quickly fell in love with the sport.

“I started quite late: when I were 21. I’d had a knee injury when I was playing football, for Newcastle Academy, and I just wanted to lose some weight. I’d been interested in boxing before, I’ve always enjoyed it and two of my uncles were ABA champions so it runs in the blood.

“I had my first amateur fight six months after I first picked up the gloves. It went very, very quickly. After my first couple of wins I started to think that it was something I’d love to do as a career.”

Three years as an amateur saw Hunter mix it with top-level fighters despite limited outings. The initial goal was to season as an amateur and round out her style before turning professional but an offer too good to turn down soon swayed the 24 year old.

“I wasn’t actually planning on turning professional. I was going to be an amateur for another year – double my number of fights. I’d only had 15 in total so ideally I would have stayed amateur, got to 30, but Steve Wraith came and told me they were doing an ITV show on North East boxing. I don’t know what’s happening with that now but essentially that was the reason I turned pro because they said they’d pay for my license, there was momentum. I put the feelers out and I got the shot on the Matchroom show.”

Her debut followed with a slot on the undercard of Lewis Ritson vs Robbie Davies Jr: one of the biggest fights to grace Newcastle in recent memory. Hunter boxed Borislava Goranova, a wily veteran of the sport, and the occasion lived up to every expectation, she explained.

“It was great. I loved every minute of it. I was dead nervous and I felt a bit of pressure; doors opened at four but I’d sold 500 tickets so they were making some noise. Eddie Hearn was ringside watching, my family and friends were there – (I’m) not sure who made me more nervous.

“I felt as though I was trying a little bit too much because of that and I just didn’t let the shots flow. I should have relaxed because I was comfortable but trying to force things and she’s a tough old woman. If I’d have had another round I think I’d have got her but she’s gone the distance twice with Cecilia Braekhaus so she is tough.”

Lessons learned from a convincing performance that Hunter insists she’ll heed going forward. The fourth round stood out as a particular learner with attacks to the body finding key success. It was this candid reflection on her performance – comfortable and confident in many respects – that sums up the character of Hunter.

“I’ll live and learn with every fight” was a phrase on more than a handful of occasions and, judging by her attitude, it couldn’t be more apt.

“I’m keen for a stoppage. I wanted that in the last one and hopefully I’ll get that on the 13th. I had my opponent changed for the Matchroom show but it’s Monika Antonik for now though anything can happen. I’ll say yes to anyone, to be fair, genuinely. I didn’t realise Goranova was a super middleweight until after I’d agreed to it!

“Once you’ve landed that big shot you shouldn’t forget what got you there – the shots that set it up. These journeymen know what they’re doing and they know how to survive so you shouldn’t rush in and try and force anything. When you do that they’ll grab on and I wish I’d started going to the body earlier on because I only did that in the last round.”

Since turning professional The Howcon Hurricane has teamed up with Nik Gittus and his burgeoning stable of talent. From Joe Laws and Lawrence Osueke to Jamie Bates and Rob Ismay, Gittus is helping churn out North East talent at a rate of knots. It is this link-up that Hunter credits with helping develop her style; her lack of amateur pedigree has made her more susceptible to change, she said.

“It’s great (training with Nik Gittus), it’s really amazing. I feel as though my style has changed five or six times since I’ve got there – my head movement has improved hugely. I literally feel as though I’m cloning those around me, Joe Laws, Jamie Bates, Rob Ismay, any of them, because they’re all class acts. I’ve got massive respect for my amateur gym but making the move was the best decision I’ve ever made.

“Nik calls us a sponge. I pick things up so quickly and I’m learning new things every day. It’s true, I soak it up. I’ve had (amateur) fights where I’ve put the pressure on but then I’ve had ones where I’m on the backfoot. I do love a tear up, though, having a scrap and biting down on the gumshield.”

The welterweight fights next on December 13th in her first taste of the ‘small hall scene.’

On a nine fight bill in Rainton Meadows, Hunter will face Monika Antonik over four scheduled rounds. Having sold five hundred tickets for her Matchroom debut, Hunter’s followed this up with 250 for the upcoming dinner show.

Her plan for 2020, and beyond, is simple: to take risks and challenge herself. There certainly is no arrogance or cockiness from Hunter but a confidence that is necessary for success.

More importantly the Wallsend boxer isn’t afraid to stick her neck above the parapet and embrace any opportunity coming her way. And, to put it in her own words, “it’s quite exciting.”

“I’ll have another fight in January, February. I’m not fussed because I want as many as I can in the next 12 months to keep me busy and keep me tested. I’ll have a couple more at this level but then it’s time to step it up – I know I’m not out of my league at the top level but it’s the timing of it. I need to do it at the right time, fine tune some things, and I could be the most powerful welterweight there is.

“I’m still 24, me and Nik were saying we can be patient but, at the same time, if I take a risk and take a loss then so what? I am young and I’ll have plenty of time to come back from it. I could still be boxing in 12, 14 years so what would a loss mean as long I’m learning from it? I’ve only been boxing for three years so think where I could be in three more years; it’s exciting, isn’t it?”

April Hunter made history in October as the first female boxer from the North East to turn professional. The ambitious fighter began by telling FightPost how, despite a late start, she quickly fell in love with the sport.

“I started quite late: when I were 21. I’d had a knee injury when I was playing football, for Newcastle Academy, and I just wanted to lose some weight. I’d been interested in boxing before, I’ve always enjoyed it and two of my uncles were ABA champions so it runs in the blood.

“I had my first amateur fight six months after I first picked up the gloves. It went very, very quickly. After my first couple of wins I started to think that it was something I’d love to do as a career.”

Three years as an amateur saw Hunter mix it with top-level fighters despite limited outings. The initial goal was to season as an amateur and round out her style before turning professional but an offer too good to turn down soon swayed the 24 year old.

“I wasn’t actually planning on turning professional. I was going to be an amateur for another year – double my number of fights. I’d only had 15 in total so ideally I would have stayed amateur, got to 30, but Steve Wraith came and told me they were doing an ITV show on North East boxing. I don’t know what’s happening with that now but essentially that was the reason I turned pro because they said they’d pay for my license, there was momentum. I put the feelers out and I got the shot on the Matchroom show.”

Her debut followed with a slot on the undercard of Lewis Ritson vs Robbie Davies Jr: one of the biggest fights to grace Newcastle in recent memory. Hunter boxed Borislava Goranova, a wily veteran of the sport, and the occasion lived up to every expectation, she explained.

“It was great. I loved every minute of it. I was dead nervous and I felt a bit of pressure; doors opened at four but I’d sold 500 tickets so they were making some noise. Eddie Hearn was ringside watching, my family and friends were there – (I’m) not sure who made me more nervous.

“I felt as though I was trying a little bit too much because of that and I just didn’t let the shots flow. I should have relaxed because I was comfortable but trying to force things and she’s a tough old woman. If I’d have had another round I think I’d have got her but she’s gone the distance twice with Cecilia Braekhaus so she is tough.”

Lessons learned from a convincing performance that Hunter insists she’ll heed going forward. The fourth round stood out as a particular learner with attacks to the body finding key success. It was this candid reflection on her performance – comfortable and confident in many respects – that sums up the character of Hunter.

“I’ll live and learn with every fight” was a phrase on more than a handful of occasions and, judging by her attitude, it couldn’t be more apt.

“I’m keen for a stoppage. I wanted that in the last one and hopefully I’ll get that on the 13th. I had my opponent changed for the Matchroom show but it’s Monika Antonik for now though anything can happen. I’ll say yes to anyone, to be fair, genuinely. I didn’t realise Goranova was a super middleweight until after I’d agreed to it!

“Once you’ve landed that big shot you shouldn’t forget what got you there – the shots that set it up. These journeymen know what they’re doing and they know how to survive so you shouldn’t rush in and try and force anything. When you do that they’ll grab on and I wish I’d started going to the body earlier on because I only did that in the last round.”

Since turning professional The Howcon Hurricane has teamed up with Nik Gittus and his burgeoning stable of talent. From Joe Laws and Lawrence Osueke to Jamie Bates and Rob Ismay, Gittus is helping churn out North East talent at a rate of knots. It is this link-up that Hunter credits with helping develop her style; her lack of amateur pedigree has made her more susceptible to change, she said.

“It’s great (training with Nik Gittus), it’s really amazing. I feel as though my style has changed five or six times since I’ve got there – my head movement has improved hugely. I literally feel as though I’m cloning those around me, Joe Laws, Jamie Bates, Rob Ismay, any of them, because they’re all class acts. I’ve got massive respect for my amateur gym but making the move was the best decision I’ve ever made.

“Nik calls us a sponge. I pick things up so quickly and I’m learning new things every day. It’s true, I soak it up. I’ve had (amateur) fights where I’ve put the pressure on but then I’ve had ones where I’m on the backfoot. I do love a tear up, though, having a scrap and biting down on the gumshield.”

The welterweight fights next on December 13th in her first taste of the ‘small hall scene.’

On a nine fight bill in Rainton Meadows, Hunter will face Monika Antonik over four scheduled rounds. Having sold five hundred tickets for her Matchroom debut, Hunter’s followed this up with 250 for the upcoming dinner show.

Her plan for 2020, and beyond, is simple: to take risks and challenge herself. There certainly is no arrogance or cockiness from Hunter but a confidence that is necessary for success.

More importantly the Wallsend boxer isn’t afraid to stick her neck above the parapet and embrace any opportunity coming her way. And, to put it in her own words, “it’s quite exciting.”

“I’ll have another fight in January, February. I’m not fussed because I want as many as I can in the next 12 months to keep me busy and keep me tested. I’ll have a couple more at this level but then it’s time to step it up – I know I’m not out of my league at the top level but it’s the timing of it. I need to do it at the right time, fine tune some things, and I could be the most powerful welterweight there is.

“I’m still 24, me and Nik were saying we can be patient but, at the same time, if I take a risk and take a loss then so what? I am young and I’ll have plenty of time to come back from it. I could still be boxing in 12, 14 years so what would a loss mean as long I’m learning from it? I’ve only been boxing for three years so think where I could be in three more years; it’s exciting, isn’t it?”

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