Ellie Scotney: “If Eddie Hearn got me a world title fight tomorrow I would be game for it.”
The world is a very different place since I last had the pleasure of speaking to Ellie Scotney. Going on holiday a crime, face masks everywhere, hugging a thing of the past, a virtual year in lockdown, nothing is as it was. Scotney had just turned professional, a nervous aspiring pro had just endured her first press conference, an unnatural environment a necessary requirement on the road to a more natural arena.
A year on Scotney is in B&Q as I dialled her number, but not working there as she was in our previous conversation, this time there on pick up duties rather clocking in for different reasons. Scotney left her day job sometime ago, with sponsors now onboard she can focus solely on her boxing career. No more climbing up ladders to fetch or to hide as she jokingly said, at least I think she was joking. Boxing is now her life.
Scotney had to wait longer than expected to make her debut, no crowd, behind closed doors, but she impressed. Women’s boxing had another potential star on its hands. The list is forever growing. Now two fights in, plans are already in motion for fight number three:
“I’m looking at June for my next fight, just waiting for it all to be confirmed. I don’t know my opponent yet but it will be another step up.”
Normally a touted prospect would be afforded a few, shall we say, easy fights. Building confidence, learning all about the pro game, fights that get the name of the fighter out there. Scotney hasn’t been afforded any such luxuries, matched tough from the get-go, a sign of the times or a sign of the confidence her team has in her. The comedic side of Scotney which has made her Twitter account a must-follow, shines through again when I ask who she wants next:
“I wouldn’t mind someone who will just lay down, to be honest. People are saying I am a powder puncher at the minute so I could do with an opponent who will just fall down if I tap them.”
Scotney had to face the tough Bec Connolly on her debut last October. Despite Connolly showing bravery beyond the call of duty to last the distance, Scotney showed the potential her amateur career promised. Mailys Gangloff was next, just a few days after her 23rd birthday in March, Scotney faced a determined opponent who came to England to upset all the hype. Scotney came through a real test, impressing again in a fight that will serve her well going forward:
“I want to learn from every fight before I reach that top level, and I feel my opponents so far are giving me what I need. I wasn’t overly happy with my performance but she was game, she came to fight and she came to win. As an amateur, she did more than me. I showed a lot on the night but there was a lot I didn’t show.”
Being in the confined Matchroom bubbles can be a strange experience, with space a premium, seeing your opponent on a regular basis can be awkward, Scotney was aware of her opponent all week long, and knew she came over not with a losing mentality:
“I walked into the dining room, and you know where you can feel someone watching you and she was just sat there smiling her head off. I am kind of used to it though. When you go away as an amateur you box in all these different countries and you are boxing each other so it was something I was already used to.”
Taking the easy road can get the headlines and a padded record that hides the truth. Women’s doesn’t lack for much nowadays, but depth is one thing that is missing at the moment, although in a years time that will be a completely different story. The lack of depth often means a fighter is pushed far quicker than their male counterparts. The Catford fighter is certainly being fast-tracked, a possible 8 rounder up next and the acid test could arrive before the end of the year. The unbeaten prospect understands the need for the tough early fights if the rapid speed of her development is going to reap its intended rewards:
“I just want to be the best that I can, but I know it is a long journey and I have to just keep on improving. It’s never going to be perfect it’s boxing. Fighting someone who might make you look good won’t always benefit you in the long run. But fighting people like I have been doing so far just adds to my experience.”
Scotney certainly doesn’t lack for confidence but is equally level-headed enough to keep listening to her team. A potential world title tilt has already been mentioned, and if it came sooner rather than later, Scotney would answer the call and is aware that a title shot might be imminent:
“If Eddie Hearn got me a world title fight tomorrow I would be game for it. But I will keep listening to my team and when they say I am ready, then I’ll be ready. I trust my team, they have a good eye for the sport. It’s looking that way if you look at my first two opponents.”
Fighting in and around the super-bantamweight limit offers plenty of options for Scotney, both domestically and internationally. Depending on what weight she feels the most comfortable at, and maybe, where the opportunities land will determine her future opponents. But despite the plethora of options seemingly at her disposal, Scotney isn’t focussing on a specific opponent or about to start calling people out:
“I don’t look at it that way, whoever the opponent is I just can’t wait to jump in. I just want to be part of that mix. There have been a lot of good fights domestically I just can’t wait to get stuck in.”
We saw a fight of the year candidate a few weeks back, a fight which Scotney probably has a personal interest in. Shannon Courtenay and Ebanie Bridges served up a war for the vacant WBA bantamweight title, another great advert for their sport. Two-minute rounds in women’s boxing have stirred up much debate, but whatever the rights and wrongs of the arguments two minute rounds seem to give fight after fight of breath-taking pace and quality. Scotney has a style that seems the perfect fit for three-minute rounds, but is aware what the shorter version brings to the table:
“I would love to fight three minutes but I can see why they only do two-minute rounds. Two minutes is such a good and easy watch.”
Scotney was unhappy in her final days as an amateur. The regimented routine in Sheffield wasn’t for her. The love for the sport dwindling with her unhappiness, but now she is clearly happy with her life and career. Deeply religious, her faith is an important part of her life. The temptations of the fame that will be in her future you know will be resisted, nightclubs, alcohol and other such vices won’t stop Scotney realising her potential.
A fighter with her feet very firmly on the ground. Public transport still the start and end of her day, the daily grind of training the building blocks to what lies ahead. Scotney is dedicated to her craft and that dedication is unlikely to wane with so much on the line. A return to the old job isn’t even a consideration. Climbing up a different ladder now the long-term aim.
Scotney is happy and content probably more than she has ever been. If she fights and wins in June, the fight after, could be her moment of truth. A world champion after just four fights, is by no means impossible.