The FightPost Interviews: Ellie Scotney
Women’s boxing is seemingly getting the push it quite rightfully deserves, after many apparent false starts, things are changing, and not before time. There are still only less than 50 professional female fighters in the UK, a staggeringly low number, but the numbers are steadily increasing and a new wave of talent is coming through to keep the momentum going for many years ahead.
The latest to join the ever-increasing numbers is former amateur star Ellie Scotney. The London based Scotney is only 21 and continues the recent trend of a much younger breed of fighters coming through to the pro ranks.
In her early days, Scotney was in her own words a handful at school, but she still did well and the competitiveness was apparent even then:
“I was a bit of a nightmare at school, the loud one, I would listen but talk at the same time. But maybe surprisingly to some, I did alright, even my mum thought I had brought home the wrong exam results.”
Scotney first entered a boxing gym at the tender age of 9, having a brother who boxed certainly helped his little sister gravitate to the sport herself:
“My brother used to box, I was like his shadow to be honest.”
Even in her formative years, a career in boxing seemed to be looming for Scotney, back in 2007 when Ricky Hatton challenged Floyd Mayweather, Scotney, a big fan of Hatton, wanted to listen to the fight as it happened, but the early hours broadcast was perhaps a little too much for her:
“I was so young, I listened to it on the radio, or tried to, because we didn’t have the means to watch it on the TV, I woke up in the round it ended, I was gutted I had missed it.”
A highly impressive amateur record of 35-5 including winning the 2017 National Elite title with a broken hand, competing in the World amateur championships and was a serious contender to represent Great Britain at this year’s Tokyo Olympics before deciding to turn her back on the unpaid ranks. Scotney only started competing when she was 17 and her rise to the top was a rapid one. But being in the elite set-up in Sheffield eventually took its toll:
“I’m thankful for the experience I had in Sheffield and travelling all over the world fighting, but it didn’t quite work for me, it works for other people but it didn’t quite gel. I was never boxing to my full potential, I didn’t get the best out of myself, how I performed or how I was feeling in myself. I was up there all week, just coming home at weekends, living on the train, travelling just wasn’t for me, I missed my family.”
Scotney had always harboured dreams of going to this year’s Olympics, and with the set-up in Sheffield being lottery-funded, she admitted they were all well looked after, but Scotney made the brave and maybe surprising decision to leave:
“It was always my dream to box in the Olympics, but I am more content and happy in life and with myself now, enjoying life and boxing, I’m not looking back anymore, ready for anything that’s coming my way. Something was always in my head that things were not right, I had a lot going on at home, and I knew my style was more suited to the pro game. I was going backwards as a person and as a boxer, I was going to the gym in body but not in mind. As soon as I made the decision to leave and turn pro it felt as though a massive weight was lifted on my shoulders.”
With the difficult decision made, plans were quickly made to start her pro journey, her old amateur coach Sam Mullins was retained and Adam Booth was brought on board in a management capacity. The reality of a life of a fledgling pro means that Scotney has to combine her boxing career with a job to support her ring ambitions:
“I work in B&Q two days a week, part-time doing 16 hours, two full shifts, back to normal life now, it would be nice to train and then just rest and sleep after training, but I have to pay my way and earn my keep and live, but I don’t need much in life.”
Scotney is highly unlikely to fail in the sport because of the innocence and temptations of her youth. Boxing is her life, no hobbies outside of the sport and alcohol certainly won’t be her downfall:
“I’ve never ever stepped foot in a nightclub, the last time I had a drink was when I was in a pub with my mates when I was 15 and I got caught, that was the only time I have ever had a drink in my life.”
Scotney is entering the professional ranks at a time when there is a mini-boom in women’s boxing, with more and more women deciding to make the switch:
“The sport is getting a new lift at the moment, from the beginning which started with Jane Couch and now the likes of Katie Taylor and others are helping push the sport on to new heights. People are starting to watch the sport now, especially in the amateurs, the crowd are more likely to watch now rather than leave and go for a drink, the pro’s are still a work in progress but it’s getting there.”
It’s often difficult to judge a person on first sight, more so after just a 20-minute phone call, but there seems a maturity beyond her years, very level-headed, someone who you sense has great ambition and without the arrogance that can often come with self-confidence. Scotney will box at super-bantamweight, and with all the hype being thrown at her, she is definitely a fighter to keep an eye as her career progresses.
Scotney will make her professional debut on March 28th at the O2 Arena in London on a Matchroom show headlined by the European welterweight title fight between David Avanesyan and Josh Kelly.