The FightPost Interviews: Avril Mathie
I’ve done a series of interviews over the last few weeks with different female boxers at different stages of their careers. The one thing that stands out is their passion for the sport. All have different options open to them, they don’t have to box, they want to box.
Australian born Avril Mathie is one such fighter. She may be unbeaten and hoping to be fighting for world titles down the line, but a love for the sport has seen her mix trading leather with a thriving modelling career:
“I just love boxing, it’s the thing I love to do the most, if you are doing boxing for the pay then get out of here.”
At the age of 15 boxing might not have been a thought for Mathie, but the fighting spirit was perhaps evident even then. Kicked out of her family home at such a young age, Mathie was forced to go it alone:
“It was nothing bad, I had my views on what I should be allowed to do and they had theirs. At first, I went to a friends and stayed in her loft. After a week my mum was begging me to come back and sort out our differences, but it was just like a repeat for 6 or 7 times after that, and I decided to move out permanently. At 16 I moved in with some friends in their spare room.”
The apparent turmoil and unsettling period didn’t prevent Mathie from graduating extremely high in her state, but a short-lived stint studying engineering at university ended when she realised it just wasn’t for her:
“I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars and years of my life on something I couldn’t care less about.”
Mathie spent time travelling and doing jobs in hospitality, working in bars and nightclubs before entering the world of modelling:
“I did random jobs for different brands, but when I was 18 working in a nightclub where they used to have beauty pageants with cash prizes, and one night they didn’t have enough girls so they asked some of us bar girls. I ended up making it to the final and came 2nd, and I thought this is great. So I started doing more and more, you get to know people. I entered and won a few bigger ones, and started to get invites to the biggest pageants in the world. I won Miss Hawaiian Tropic Australia in 2012, Miss Swimsuit USA International in 2014 and Las Vegas International Model Search in 2015. I never really pursued modelling it sort of fell into my lap.”
Mathie was doing Muay Thai purely for fitness before an injury led her to a life in boxing, her competitive nature was a natural fit for her new sport.
Mathie left Australia because a boxing career there wasn’t really an option, and she moved to Miami:
“I didn’t start boxing until I was 25, and pursing boxing wasn’t really a viable option there. Even the best professionals have to hold down a job, you can’t live off boxing. When I was 28 I just thought I want to give boxing a proper go, I’m good at it, and I thought I can’t wait any longer and America is where all the opportunities are.”
After 20 amateur fights, Mathie turned pro in 2018 and has compiled an unbeaten record of 5-0-1, the only blemish a disputed draw in her 3rd pro fight. Mathie is now with the boxing powerhouse MTK Global and despite the late start in the sport, Mathie isn’t lowering her ambitions:
“I am building my way up there, getting better opponents, improving as a fighter and looking to get that world title shot. I am not going away anytime soon, even if I get a world title I am not planning on leaving boxing for a while. I am in no rush, I have learnt that you can’t plan everything, injuries, things come up, and you can put too must pressure on yourself if you set a timetable. So I just take one fight at a time now.”
Mathie wants to change perceptions and inspire others to take up boxing:
“Where I think I am different is that I don’t come from a terrible background, I’m not struggling for money, I’m doing this purely because I want to and people can relate to me in a sense that I look like them and hopefully they think if she can do it, so can they.”
There is something really impressive about Mathie, her independence and drive, and leaving her previous life behind to chase her goals. As she says herself, she has choices and she has chosen boxing.
It’s easy to make excuses in life, Mathie makes none. She has given up plenty to give herself the best possible chance of success. Women’s boxing is still a niche sport, but it’s getting there. Mathie and others are the new breed, the fresh talent that will see the sport thrive for many years to come.
Mathie returns to action on March 20th.