An Interview With Kirstie Bavington
By Ben White
A PE teacher by day and a boxer by night, Kirstie Bavington of Pensnett, Dudley lives a life most would call hectic.
By training twice a day alongside being a PE teacher, it’s fair to say that Kirstie has a bug for keeping fit; when you also take into account she has been a footballer who has graced the Premier League stage whilst representing the likes of Wolves, Albion, Coventry, Crystal Palace, AFC Wimbledon and Birmingham, it puts your own ‘busy’ schedule into perspective.
In my recent interview with Kirstie, we discussed how she balances her training schedules and how she got into each of her professions in the first place.
It was football that first caught the eye of a 6 year old Kirstie Bavington. Her love for the sport grew after watching her hero David Beckham in an England game when she was 15.
Alongside her interest in football, she also developed an enthusiasm for boxing with the idea initially that she would use boxing as a way of improving her fitness for football. Juggling her careers later on down the line did not become an issue.
In fact, she also took on the role of being a PE teacher at 21:
“Becoming a PE teacher has given me the opportunity to pass my experience onto the youth and my aim now is to create a legacy to inspire people to follow their dreams, no matter what. They need to know that by trusting the process and by doing good, you will be rewarded with good things in return.”
I also asked Kirstie how she balances her workload, to which she replied:
“There’s only 24 hours in a day, so I make sure that I get the work done regardless. I need both team and individual sports in my life, otherwise I’d go insane. Boxing is such a lonely sport, especially with the 5am runs and having to make weight. You only have one life, one opportunity so you need to make the most of it all; you are only this young once.”
Despite the unwavering commitment Kirstie has shown to her sports, there is one thing Kirstie prioritises above it all and this became a realisation when she suffered a setback which very nearly ended the dream she has been living; she goes on to explain:
“You must always put your happiness first, I hit a state of depression/anxiety when I ruptured my ACL and meniscus. I was told that I would not play or box to a high level again but I beat the odds to turn professional in boxing and play for Crystal Palace. I like to prove people wrong so I got an exercise bike and the day after my operation I went straight on it and knew that nothing or nobody would stop me because this is what I was born to do. Life can still be hard sometimes!”
Away from her occupations Kirstie spends the very little spare time she has going to watch the likes of Stormzy, Kano, Bugzy Malone and Krept and Konan in concert. When asked to describe herself as a person, she said:
“I’m pretty emotional and do everything with my heart first, I always fight for what I believe in and it can lead to me getting hurt quite often. I always want to help people and improve their life. At the end of the day, if you’re not making someone else’s life better than you’re wasting your time. I also have no common sense (lol), I can come across quite dumb (haha) and I’m always forgetting things!”
Kirstie has sacrificed some of the time she had to play football, to pursue her unfulfilled dreams of becoming a world champion. Kirstie’s record currently stands at 3 wins, 1 loss and a draw but she insists that with the help of the coaches at Eastside she is learning to become a more technical fighter whereas before she was a very aggressive fighter that would take a few hits too many.
She has adapted her style to become a more intelligent fighter whilst mastering her ring craft.
As a PE teacher and a professional boxer, I was intrigued as to what Kirstie’s thoughts would be on whether or not boxing should be brought into the school curriculum:
“I’ve encouraged boxing/boxfit in all of the schools I have taught in, in South London, Birmingham and around the West Midlands. Boxing teaches discipline and confidence and at the same time promotes good mental health and focus among young people. I believe every child should take part in some kind of sport, as both an individual and a team.”
I asked Kirstie whether she feels that boxing lowers the level of bullying:
“I believe so; pupils will develop confidence which will hopefully create a good attitude and a respect for others.”
Kirstie likes to pass on life lessons she has learnt from boxers of the past to her pupils, giving her favourite Muhammad Ali quote as an example:
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks, will achieve nothing in life”. She likes to use this quote because “It’s a quote which relates to my mind set in life, I would rather take the risk and fail than to feel guilty for what could have been.”
Through her hard work, dedication and risks taken Kirstie has got this far, join the journey and watch the future unfold of a potential boxing world star!