Bec Connolly: “I Go Into Every Fight To Win.“
A fighters record can be deceiving, often not telling the whole story. The defeats, which can be plenty, can mask the real ability. Fights taken at short-notice, with bills to pay, any weight division will do. The away fighter rarely gets the benefit of the doubt, judges seem to gravitate to the favoured fighter far too often.
Bec Connolly has an uninspiring looking record of 3-7, but look a little closer at her resume, and you might see a different narrative to what her record might initially show you.
Defeats to the likes of Terri Harper, Natasha Jonas, Rachel Ball and Carly Skelly can be excused. But at 36, Connolly has little time to waste if she is to change that losing record.
On October 17th, Connolly has been given the unenviable task of welcoming the highly-touted Ellie Scotney to the professional ranks. But rather than fear or dread, it is a feeling of excitement that the underdog has, ahead of the fight later this month:
“Really excited for the fight, it’s come at just the right time for me. I didn’t think after all the lockdown thing that I would ever get back to boxing this year.”
Connolly has spent much of her career in relative obscurity, but the fight with Scotney allows her to shine on a massive platform. The fight later this month will be broadcast live on Sky Sports:
“It’s what I have been aiming and striving for all these years. I think we deserve it. We are not stupid or under any false illusions, we know what Ellie has, we are not fighting just anyone making her debut. Ellie has had 40 odd amateur fights, been to the world’s and is touted as the next Katie Taylor and she should be really proud of that.”
There is that suggestion that Connolly is now at the opponent stage of her career, but the Swindon fighter doesn’t see it that way:
“I have never been a journeywoman, and I go into every fight to win. I just go into every fight to give the best version of myself, and as long as I can walk out knowing I have given everything I will hold my head high if I have lost to the better woman on the night. If I lose to myself that is heart-breaking.
“I think people in boxing already know what I am about. To be fair it is not the same in the women’s as it is with the men. We all, even the fighters from abroad, come to fight, none of them are walkovers. But now the British women have no choice but to fight each other because of Covid and I think that can only be a positive thing. We got some cracking fights in Fight Camp with the likes of Harper and Jonas and Ball and Courtenay, they were all great fights and they wouldn’t have happened without Covid. Rachel was the last girl I fought before lockdown, we would definitely have taken the fight with Shannon.”
Connolly has fought at various weights in her career, but the fight with Scotney is at her prime fighting weight and she still has big ambitions in the sport:
“I felt the weight difference in my fights with Harper and Jonas, but featherweight is my weight, and this fight is at featherweight. I am still 100% ambitious. I don’t want to make excuses for any of my losses, but there are two on there which I was really upset about the decision. I am a mother of 4 and I have to fight to put food on the table, and in hindsight, there are a couple more I definitely should not have taken where I didn’t make the weight well, and that is on me nobody else. I didn’t have a record to protect so I thought just go for it.”
Connolly fits into the category of the many, where boxing isn’t a full-time sport for her. Without the luxury of earning enough to fully concentrate on her sport, Connolly has to somehow manage her time between training, being a single mother of 4 and working elsewhere to supplement her boxing income:
“Boxing is my main source of income, but I have two side-businesses, All or Nothing Fitness and Evolve which is a nutrition and fitness business, and I am also a part-time soldier.”
Connolly has made several changes in recent times, Swindon is no longer her base and her long association with veteran trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick has come to an end and is now working with Mike Rees:
“I have been with Paddy for about 10 years, but in lockdown he had some personal stuff happen to him and he has decided to take a different route in life. Paddy was my coach, mentor, friend, everything, he rolled everything into one. This fight has been up and down, up and down, and Paddy would have shielded me, he wouldn’t have told me about the fight until it was certain. So I never had to deal with things like that, so I had to learn as I went along. It’s now a different stage of the journey, different gym, different trainer, different everything. I knew Mike from our amateur team, he’s a great guy, a great coach, really straight-forward character, and I like that. I don’t need anyone to sugar-coat me, I just want the truth, I trust him.”
Connolly spent much of lockdown working with the army, and the break from boxing was what her body and mind needed:
“It couldn’t have worked out better too be honest. I had a broken eye-socket from the last fight. It had healed, I had been given the all-clear from the hospital, and good to go for the March/April fight we were supposed to have. But I was still getting like a tingly nerve pain, just enough to throw me off when I was sparring. But that and a few other injuries have now completely healed during the lay off time.”
Nothing has come easy for Connolly, especially of late. Her marriage broke down on bad terms. An upbringing in an alcohol related environment didn’t give her the best of starts in life. Recent social media posts of ‘tough times’ over the past few months, tell a familiar story.
But maybe, against all odds, Connolly is still here, still fighting, seemingly always swimming against the tide. The voice at the other end of the phone doesn’t resonate with the never-ending life struggles. A losing record but there is no losing mentality.
Connolly would have been excused if she was already a beaten fighter, but despite having to roll with the punches in and outside of the ring, she still has hope.
A fight date with notice, allowing proper preparation, and at her premium fighting weight, Connolly seems in a good place, and ‘Lady Luck’ might be shining come October 17th.