Shannon Courtenay: Making Up For Lost Time
Boxing has saved many over the course of its long history. Lives taken on a completely different path thanks to the Noble Art. An expected life of crime and poverty left behind. A future with no direction, no hope, suddenly had the opposite.
Shannon Courtenay is one such person. Overweight, drink and cigarettes her only solace. The booze and the fags couldn’t hide her unhappiness, but not for the first time boxing found her, it saved her.
A visit to London’s Finchley ABC changed her life, the cigarettes soon thrown in the bin, the party days now consigned to history.
A life which wasn’t going anywhere suddenly had somewhere to go, it had purpose, and Courtenay hasn’t looked back since. Twenty-two amateur fights followed, including winning the well regarded Haringey Box Cup, before joining the ever-expanding professional ranks in 2019.
Courtenay (5-0) hasn’t fought since December, the ongoing pandemic has stopped her promising career, and everything else, in its tracks. A scheduled fight in April on the Terri Harper/Natasha Jonas card in Doncaster fell through, but at long last boxing in the UK is back, albeit behind closed doors.
Next month Courtenay will face her toughest test so far in her embryonic pro career when she takes on the once-beaten Rachel Ball.
Ball lost little in that solitary defeat, and threatens to shock Courtenay when they meet on August 14th.
That defeat by way of a majority decision against the current Interim WBC super-featherweight world champion Katherina Thanderz last January in Norway. Ball, the away fighter, was convinced she had won, and could give the Watford fighter a very real fight next month.
But Courtenay wants world titles, and a win over Ball is a must. The popular and ambitious Courtenay might have future showdowns waiting for her against fellow Brit Amy Timlin or even the Australian Ebanie Bridges. Those sort of fights will raise her profile, and her sport.
If she keeps winning Courtenay could be challenging for world titles next year. After a good solid start to her career in the paid ranks in 2019, Courtenay, like many, has had a frustrating time so far in the pandemic hit 2020. But her time in isolation wasn’t wasted, the gym replaced by the solitude of home training and staying ready for the return to the life that has changed her fortunes so much.
But belatedly her boxing career does now resume on August 14th and with it the opportunity to take her career to the next level on another high-profile show.
Eddie Hearn is leading the way with promoting women’s boxing in the UK. Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon will engage in their highly-anticipated rematch in late August and Terri Harper and Natasha Jonas headline another Matchroom show just prior to that. Recent signing Chantelle Cameron will get her long-awaited world title later in the year.
The boom in women’s boxing shows no sign of slowing down, and the likes of Courtenay and others will continue the upward trend.
The wayward early years have been replaced by discipline and ambition. An impressive work ethic won’t see her failing for a lack of effort. At only 27, Courtenay could have a very big future ahead of her.
Courtenay has to her immense credit turned her life right around, and there is every chance her boxing life will see that life reach even greater heights in the coming years.