Hollie Towl: The ‘Blonde Bomber’
It’s a 30 minute or so commute from Sheffield to the old mining town of Worksop. A young 16-year-old prospect relishes the journey, thoughts of what lies ahead, hopes of world titles fill her head. Six days a week that trip to Worksop is made without complaint. It’s not work, it’s a passion.
School wasn’t her place to shine or grow as a person, like many before her, a boxing ring is the place where the shy young girl comes to life and where she is happiest.
Hollie Towl, a five-time national amateur champion, is now on her professional journey. A recent debut win and Hollie is up and running, with big expectations.
Hollie travelled to Aberdeen early last month for that first step in the paid ranks. A stoppage in 5 rounds is a sign of things to come. The same card saw her teammates Nicola Hopewell and Eleanor Coulson also record wins. A gym rich in talent, full of momentum.
Her boxing life started at 11, after spells in kickboxing and Taekwondo. After an initial visit to a Worksop gym in 2014, her focus shifted, something clicked, and Hollie was on her way.
She calls the gym run by her coach Chris Boyle, a boxing marriage, something magical.
“I remember me and my mum going along for a trial session at the academy and wow, everything just exploded like dynamite. Don’t get me wrong after this session I then attended an academy session which nearly killed me. I thought I could never go back as it was just so tough. But because of that connection in my first session with my coach Chris, I knew I couldn’t give up as something special was born that day.”
It wasn’t a good start to her new life, Hollie lost her first 3 fights, the tears flowed, but she didn’t quit. Despite the early setbacks, Hollie trained harder, honed her craft and gradually her fortunes changed. Titles came and plenty of them, and at 3 different weights, her potential started to emerge.
“Over a three-year period I remained mainly unbeaten winning every single Box Cup including the Irish championship, the winter Box Cup and the prestigious National Association of Boys and Girls Club. Out of 34 amateur fights, I lost only 6.”
Hollie had sparred with the likes of unified world champion Terri Harper, Commonwealth champion Nina Bradley and the double Olympic champion Nicola Adams.
After the visit to the Ingle Gym in Sheffield to spar with Adams, there were glowing reports from Dominic Ingle. With high praise from the upper echelons of her sport, her coach raving about what he has on his hands, Hollie has high hopes for the future. Her ambitions are clear:
“My goal is very simple, in words anyway. I aim to equal my hero Mike Tyson and become the youngest ever professional female world champion. I will do this.”
The reality of being a professional boxer isn’t one of untold riches. Medical costs are £700 a year, and with training and opponent expenses rising up to £1300 the need for sponsorship is evident. Boxing is tough, inside and outside of the ring, there is little glamour in a sport where the costs are high in many different ways.
The ‘Blonde Bomber’ has just started a Sports Coaching Apprenticeship with her coach, but the team are confident Hollie has a big future inside a boxing ring, but nevertheless, having something to fall back on is always wise.
Boyle is incredibly high on his young prodigy, predicting world titles, they are practically guaranteed you sense from the tone in his voice. Time will tell whether that optimism will be justified. But Hollie has the work ethic and dedication to give her the best possible opportunity of fulfilling all that hype.
Hollie is scheduled to return to action on November 21st.