Ellie Scotney: The Olympic Hopeful, Now Ready To Take The Pro Ranks By Storm

Ellie Scotney: The Olympic Hopeful, Now Ready To Take The Pro Ranks By Storm

By Cameron Temple

Last Monday it was announced that the European Olympic boxing qualifiers at the Copper Box Arena were cancelled. Today, no Olympics at all. At least until next year that is.

This could have been a devastating blow for someone like Ellie Scotney, 22, who as recently as 2019 was a member of the team GB boxing squad and a hopeful to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

However, in a matter of months, she soon found herself turning over to the professional ranks, being managed by a world class trainer in Adam Booth, and having signed for globally renowned promotional company, Matchroom boxing. Although, she is yet to make her debut, due to show cancellations owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

“I was in Sheffield with team GB full time,” Ellie revealed, “and I never quite settled in, both in terms of the boxing and as a person it didn’t suit me and I didn’t suit it. We just didn’t gel well, and I felt like as a boxer and as a person I was going backwards. I do love the sport of boxing, but it got to the point where I didn’t even want to put a pair of gloves on. I just thought something had to change for my own piece of mind and wellbeing.”

“At the time it was such a big decision.” Ellie continued, “It was a situation where obviously I spoke to other people, but at the end of the day it was a decision I had to make by myself. As soon as I made it, I felt different and I thought there would be a point where I would think, what if? But I haven’t had any of that, I’m just excited to see what’s to come. I don’t have any regrets at all.”

Despite no longer being a part of team GB, Ellie still wishes the best for the squad saying:

“I think they’ve got a really strong team. Pat McCormack’s obviously the stand out. A good friend of mine, Rosie Eccles, was unlucky, as she was just beaten in the first qualifiers. But hopefully she’s done enough for the next qualifier, and I’ll be massively rooting for her.”

Ellie’s journey in boxing began at just nine years of age, after wanting to follow in the footsteps of her brother, who she admitted has been the biggest influence on her career to date, saying:

“I looked up to him as a kid and he’s supported me through it all. Whatever he did, I wanted to copy, so it was just a case of trying to be a tag along.”

The first gym Ellie entered was the highly-acclaimed Lynn AC boxing gym, which she remembers fondly, saying:

“It was so old school, and as soon as you walk in it kind of takes your breath away. it’s like home for me. It’s always been special and I’m so thankful for the time I spent inside those doors.”

Ellie ended up drifting away from boxing over the next few years, but her competitive nature remained:

“I have always had a wanting-to-win factor. I remember I had a race at school when I was in year 6, which I lost. I started crying and everyone was saying, ‘Ellie, its sports day, it’s just a race,’ but for me I wanted to win. It’s quite embarrassing, but I’ve always had that competitive edge in everything I did. Even the things I wasn’t very good at, like running, but I still wanted to win.”

When she turned seventeen, Ellie decided to make a return to boxing, after being re-inspired by a fight she saw on TV, saying:

“In that time, my coach passed away, and I always said I’d go back to him. So, I always had it in the back of my mind that I would return, but I was just waiting for the right time. I remember seeing the Commonwealth games on TV, as it just happened to be on as I walked past the room. I walked in and it was boxing at the time. It was Mick Conlan vs Qais Ashfaq from team GB and I remember watching that and thinking ‘wow, I want to do that again.’ it was almost like a wake-up call.”

After making her return, Ellie excelled in the amateurs, winning the English title at youth level, as well as the Elite national amateur title as a senior in 2017, which she described as the highlight of her career so far.

However, this victory did not come without its setbacks:

“I broke my hand in the quarter finals and then I still had to box with it. I’ve had an operation and now I’ve got bone graft from my hip and metal pins in my hand,” to which I suggested the potential boxing alias, “Steel hands,” could arise. My recommendation was met by an unconvinced chuckle, as Ellie explained, “everyone keeps throwing around the “Catford cat,” but I’ll end up turning up in a cat suit to the weigh in! So, no I’m not going for a nickname at the moment, just Ellie Scotney will do.”

Since turning pro, Ellie has not had much luck, with her debut at the O2 arena on the 28th of March being cancelled due to the Coronavirus:

“I was absolutely gutted when it was cancelled, but it’s something that can’t be helped. It was perfect as well being at the O2 and I was buzzing. But everything happens for a reason and whatever happens next will make up for it. I think it’s just the case where we’re all in the same boat and we’ve all got to ride it out.”

Despite this disappointment early in her professional career, Ellie is convinced, being signed to Matchroom boxing, that she is in the right place to get back on track when boxing resumes, saying:

“In my eyes it’s one of the best promotional companies I could ask for. I’m in the best position and now I just have to make the most of the opportunity I’ve been handed. As soon as I have my debut, if everything goes to plan, then I want to be out again as quickly as I can after that, maybe even two weeks after. That may be wishful thinking, but I just want to keep active and get as many fights in as I can. I want to learn on the job and I think that’s the best way to go about it.”

It was also clear that Ellie admires the work Matchroom have done for the women’s side of the sport, as she said, “they took a risk getting into women’s boxing, but it’s paid off. They took on Katie Taylor and now everyone knows who she is and wants to watch her. To take fighters on who are just coming through is a massive gamble for them, but just look at the story of Terri Harper.”

Both Katie Taylor and Terri Harper are women that Ellie holds great admiration for, as she acknowledged,

“Women’s boxing is going from strength to strength at the moment, with the likes of Katie Taylor, Clarissa Shields and Terri Harper. You can only thank them for opening the doors. There are also the originals like Jane Couch who never gets enough credit. I feel like we owe a lot to her and hopefully she gets the recognition she deserves in the time to come. It’s almost like she was in the wrong era. It’s hard because nowadays we get the opportunities, but back then I can’t even think what it would have been like.”

Being a woman in a predominantly male sport has never been something Ellie has found daunting, as she revealed:

“I’ve always been the only girl in the gym and that doesn’t bother me. When you go in the gym, you’re all boxers. There’s no girl boxers and boy boxers, you wouldn’t say that, you would just say there’s a boxer. I’ve always been in environments where I’m the only girl and I think once you show them that, even though I’m a girl, I can fight and you break that barrier, you eventually get the respect you deserve. it’s something I’m used to and I almost enjoy it. Whenever I walk into the gym people look at me like I shouldn’t be there, but as soon as I start sparring with the boys, they change their minds, and I enjoy being the person to make them re-evaluate their opinions. It’s a challenge that all women boxers are taking in their stride at the moment.”

Ellie was also happy to weigh in on a topical issue within women’s boxing at the moment, about whether the times of the rounds should fall in line with that of men’s boxing and become three minute rounds, instead of two, as she argued:

“As an amateur I boxed for three minutes, and in that extra minute you really find out whose trained. But when there’s only two minutes, it does force a faster pace and you don’t have time to think too much or you’re already half way through the round. But all in all, I do think it should be three minutes, if men do it women should do it.”

Outside of boxing, religion also plays an important part in Ellie’s life, as she conceded,

“Without religion I probably would’ve quit. I know that’s something that people say and it’s a bit cliché, but for me there’s things that have happened, or times where I felt like I’ve missed out on an opportunity, but then something will come up that will make me realise that’s why it didn’t happen. It’s helped through the bad times, and it’s played a huge part in my everyday life, not just boxing.”

However, apart from religion, Ellie’s focuses outside of boxing do not stretch much further, as she admitted:

“I don’t do anything else except box, which may sound a bit crazy, but I’ve never stepped foot in a nightclub and I don’t drink. So, in my everyday life, I just box.”

This one-track mindedness could serve Ellie well, considering her lofty ambitions in the sport, as she told the Boxing Index:

“I want to be a world champion, and hopefully not just at one weight. Although, I can’t look past my debut because I haven’t even had it yet! I just want to get the ball rolling and then see what’s next. But everyone who puts a pair of gloves on wants to become a world champion, and that’s what I intend to be.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s