The FightPost Interviews: Carly Skelly 

The FightPost Interviews: Carly Skelly 

Life has changed beyond recognition for many, and even though unbeaten bantamweight Carly Skelly and her partner are working through the ongoing pandemic, home-schooling is another skill the mother of two has had to learn:

“Even though we have some kind of normality with both of us working, the home-schooling is hard. It’s because obviously, I am not a teacher and a lot of it goes over my head. It is quite difficult but we are doing really well.”

Carly is working on the front-line as a nurse in an NHS hospital, but work and her new teaching role haven’t prevented her from maintaining her boxing fitness:

“Training is going well, my oldest is only 13, but he is around 2kg heavier than me. He’s been boxing himself for around 2 years, so I have got someone in the house I can actually train with. My partner is also a boxing coach, so I am quite lucky because I am still getting pad and technical work, and we have a bit of a gym in the garage as well.”

When boxing does eventually return, it will still be under a cloud with the threat of the virus still there, but Carly can’t wait to get back in the gym, even though a return to boxing isn’t likely to be in the immediate future:

“I’m not too worried about the virus, I’m young fit and healthy so there are no real concerns for me. I’m unsure when I will fight again. For me, it’s all ticket sales and obviously with everything behind closed doors that’s going to be quite difficult. But with what Eddie Hearn is doing, and all the fights will be with British fighters and with the bantamweight division as it is at the minute domestically, I’m hoping I might get on a few of those shows. I will just have to see what my coach and manager organise. But I am fit and ready, I’ve been maintaining my strength and conditioning, it’s just getting that good sparring in beforehand.”  

A running injury saw Carly make a late entry into the world of boxing:

“I did a few half marathons for charity but while I was training for a marathon I got injured. I still did the race but after that, I really struggled. My partner used to box for North Mersey, the gym where I am now, and he said why don’t I get into boxing. So I did one of those White Collar fights for charity, and I loved it. So from then on, I had twenty amateur fights in the space of two years. I lost five and won 15 of those fights. I enjoy the style of training, the competitive side of it. Then we got to fight, I really enjoyed it.”

The break has come at the wrong time for Carly who only got into the sport when she was 29. Four years later she has compiled a 3-0 record, but with Carly nearing 34 she wanted to quickly build on her good solid start to her career:

“When I turned pro I was 32, I managed two fights last year and one at the beginning of this year and I was on a good run. I would have hoped to have had another four this year, so it has come at a bad time for me. But I won’t put a time limit on it, I will keep going while my body lets me. I’m quite fresh in the sport I have only been doing it for a few years.”

When the world stopped, Carly threw herself into her work, long stressful hours seeing unimaginable horrors.  A pediatric nurse at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool in normal times, Carly like many of us had to adjust to a new way of life:

“When the pandemic first started I was doing all kinds of crazy shifts and hours, I increased my hours because I wasn’t in the gym. But with routine operations cancelled and clinics being closed we have had some quiet periods as well, so I have been up and down with my hours as well.”

Very few of us can really imagine what it must be like working on the front-line at this current time, especially when their own safety is a constant worry. Did Carly feel safe at work?

“Probably not, they changed the policies daily, they seem to change depending on what they have in the hospital. I think the government have massively let everyone down.”

With her normal duties changing, it has been challenging mentally for Carly over the last few months, especially performing a role that she isn’t 100% trained for, or emotionally prepared for:

“Mentally it’s been tough, there are a lot of sad things you see. You try your best not to bring it home, but it is hard not to at times. So it does have an impact mentally. I usually work on a children’s ward, the normal routine is they come in and they go home. Obviously now we are some seeing not going home, bringing that home is quite hard. I think after this is all over, a lot of people will be going off with stress.”

A busy mother of two, a highly stressful job and trying to carve out a career in boxing, Carly certainly hasn’t chosen an easy path for herself:

“It is hard, I usually do two long days at work and that gives me five days to get my training in. But I  have got two boys who are very active and play their own sports, so when I am not training or in work I am taking them to places. It is difficult at times, but I find the boxing side of my life as my outlet, like a little break, I love it. I now do agency work, so I can pick my own hours to work because before it was quite difficult to organise trips to go sparring. So for the last 6 months, I have just been doing agency work so I can pick and choose around my lifestyle.”

Despite the late entry into the sport, the ambitions are still extremely high:

“I want to go for domestic titles first, I want to be there at the top level. I want to earn that right, so I am hoping over the next year or so to have earned the right to challenge for world titles.” 







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