Raven Chapman: “Women’s boxing now is really booming and being a professional boxer is always something that I have wanted to do.”
By Ella Fenwick
Introduced to the boxing world from a young age by playing around on the pads with her Dad, Raven Chapman never thought her love for the sport would develop further than just a hobby and certainly not to the successful career she has today.
After securing two national titles, Chapman’s boxing style soon enough caught the eyes of Team GB and she shortly received an invitation to travel to Sheffield for trials.
Despite Chapman doubting the possibility of being accepted onto the program because of her weight category not being one from the Olympics, she was certainly in shock a couple of weeks later. Chapman was representing the country in no time, ready to leave a lasting impression in women’s boxing, using her can-do attitude to bring home a win in her England debut
All good things sadly do come to an end however and Chapman decided to leave Team GB to start the next part of her boxing journey.
“I just felt it was the right time for me, especially with everything going on with the Olympics now and it’s like fighting for that place. I mean I’m getting a bit older and I don’t want to stay for another cycle if I don’t get to go this year because I just think I will be too old.”
The disjointed year in training because of the pandemic made Chapman’s future goals seem abundantly clear with only one scene on her mind. The professional scene. It had felt like all the moments so far in Chapman’s career had been building up to this point, all it needed was for her to take the leap.
“I mean you know women’s boxing now is really booming and being a professional boxer is always something that I have wanted to do. I just thought I might as well go for it now while I think I’ve got the opportunity and I feel like, you know when you just get that moment and you think yeah now is the right time for me to do this. It was just kind of one of those moments. I just thought I want to take the jump, why not? I might as well.”
Chapman didn’t always have this beaming confidence in her ability when she first started fighting and found herself struggling to get in the swing of fighting with each loss having a toll on what she thought she was able to achieve.
“I actually didn’t do very well when I first started. I just lacked a bit of confidence and I just thought you know I like it and I know I want this. Every time I fought it was almost like freezing on stage when I first started boxing. I would get in the ring and it was almost like I would freeze, and I wouldn’t work as much as I should do. I had lost more than I had won.”
That didn’t stop Chapman’s coaches from believing in her as they pushed her harder, until they broke through and she found herself having a light bulb moment that turned it all around. Looking back now Chapman laughed about her recent conversations with previous coaches;
“They could never put their finger on it but now they say; ‘we always knew there was something about you. You just had to find it within yourself.’ I think the growing in confidence helps.”
As an athlete, many know it can be easy to get into your own head and find yourself in an internal battle with your confidence, but Chapman wants to reassure and inspire others that it is just another small hurdle to get over and to take a look at the bigger picture.
“Believe in yourself and trust the process. If you really want to achieve something in it then you have got to work just as hard as everyone else if not more to get what you want. Don’t be deterred. As long as you want it the will is there, you can do anything. Even for me when it got to a point where I was thinking I have achieved this but my weight is not in the Olympics so what do I do next?
“Then I got a call up for GB which was really unexpected. You just never know what is around the corner, so just keep going. Like I say when I started I didn’t have the greatest start but if I had given up I never would have got to where I am now.”
Inspiring others is another reason Chapman is keen to enter the professional scene and looks forward to being part of the next steps of growth in women’s boxing
“You are just paving the way for other girls to know that they can also do that which I think is important because when I first started I didn’t see any girls or other females do the sport much.
“Now it is becoming a lot more competitive which makes it even more exciting. Just how it is going to grow in the next few years, so hopefully I can just be a part of that. A part of that history. You always need pioneers of a sport so to be fighting at this time is quite humbling really because the women who came before us set us up for this platform didn’t necessarily get this opportunity, so it is really nice to be part of it.”
Chapman’s sights are set high with hopes for a world champion title to add to her collection. Signing a management deal with Stefy Bull, will see her career get off to the best possible start. Bull has played a pivotal role in the success of Terri Harper, and hopes are high it will be replicated again with his latest prodigy.