Katie Healy: “I was so lucky to have my debut on such an amazing platform like Fightzone.

Katie Healy: “I was so lucky to have my debut on such an amazing platform like Fightzone.”

The long days of a training camp, deprived of food, energy, a body in permanent pain, the life of a boxer is hard, unimaginable even.

Katie Healy has just experienced her first training camp as a professional boxer after a highly successful career as a kickboxer.

As soon as her face came into view on Zoom, the smile beamed over, dressed for a night out, relief and freedom a week out from her successful first steps into her new world. A little training, but more a week of recuperation and relaxation:

“It’s been a strange week. The last few weeks have been such a routine of training, going to the gym, conditioning, work and focussing on my diet. This week just relaxing has felt so strange, nice but strange but I have definitely enjoyed it, but it’s back to the grind next week. I have been back this week but nothing hardcore like I have been doing I have just been ticking over. But we want to be so active this year so we are back to fight training from Monday.”

The veteran Claudia Ferenczi was the first opponent Healy had to face in the paid ranks, and Ferenczi knew enough tricks to survive and smother and last the distance. Healy won every round, and dominated to get her career up and running with a victory, but has already seen ways she can improve for her next outing:

“I watched it back earlier this week and I have to be honest I am my biggest critic. I felt really good in the fight, I felt really fit. Obviously, it was in very strange circumstances with it being outside and the ring was very slippery from the rain, but you just have to adapt to that. But after watching it back I have picked up so much, I should have done that, I want to do that in my next fight. But it is a learning experience, it was my debut but I have picked up so many things I will now be working on and hopefully, we will see a big improvement in my next fight.”

Fights with the likes of Ferenczi are valuable learning experiences. Opponents that are there to stay the course, rather than to win, often pose a different set of problems. At times Healy couldn’t find the space she needed to do her best work, but the experience will serve her well:

“I knew she would be awkward, Claudia is very experienced, I had watched her on YouTube when I was doing my research on her so I knew how awkward it would be. It was frustrating having someone clinch you all the time. But every fight is different and you will get fighters who will do that and you have to learn to adapt to it. I was prepared for it, we had a game plan and I think I dealt with it as best as I could at that moment in time. But we will learn from it and take it into the next fight.”

Healy was super relaxed before the fight, braving the Sheffield wind and rain to chat with friends so close to the first bell. And when the fight started Healy was a fighter seemingly at ease, clearly enjoying her return to action, albeit in a brand new sport:

“I don’t know what it was about that night but I have never felt so relaxed for a fight. Even when I was warming up I just felt ready. I had trained hard, I believed in myself and my team behind me and I just really enjoyed it. I spoke to Dennis Hobson before the fight and he just said enjoy every single moment and so many other people had said that to me, because you only get one debut. I was so lucky to have my debut on such an amazing platform like Fightzone, it was just amazing and felt so good being back in there and I think you can see that.”

Close family and friends were shivering at ringside on a cold, wet and blustery Friday night in South Yorkshire as they waited for the family favourite to make her ring entrance. But on the day, a decision to try and avoid any additional stress, leaves her family looking in from the outside on fight day:

“I try and avoid my family especially on the day of the fight. They don’t see what goes into it, they just see the end result. They see all my moody tantrums when I can’t have the food I want, but they don’t see all the training I do with all the Covid regulations. They get so nervous and I can sense how nervous they are for me. I had to laugh when I watched it back, even though I had won my mum still didn’t smile, she just clapped with the most blank expression. She said she was so nervous, so anxious and she said even at the end it hadn’t hit her that it was over and I had won.”

Being deprived of food, lacking energy and having a body that constantly aches, would make anyone grumpy and short-tempered, Healy told FightPost she is that person:

“I am moody I will admit that. When I am in camp I can’t have the foods I want to eat, I can’t go out and socialise and have a drink with my friends. It’s tough and people don’t see that, they just see what happens on the night. I told my boyfriend you do realise the closer we get to the fight I won’t be my normal happy self, there will be times when I will have a short fuse because I will be absolutely starving. I will be totally honest I am a proper grump.”

Despite being only a week out from her professional debut Healy is looking to return to action sooner rather than later:

“I want to get out again as soon as possible. We have spoken about a couple of dates but nothing is confirmed yet. But hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we can announce a date for my next fight. I just want to get out there as often as I can in the next 12 months. I think at the start of your career it is crucial to get as much experience as you can. As soon as they give me a date I’ll be ready.”

Getting punched in the head for a living isn’t most people’s idea of fun, but Healy seems to revel in combat sports. When I spoke to her earlier this year Healy told me she had missed the competitive side of the sport, and now she is back the excitement to see where her new sport takes her is obvious.

Women’s boxing needs new stars to keep growing. Healy is ambitious and has the dedication and the right team behind her to go very far in the Noble Art. A successful kickboxing career could be replicated in a different arena in the next few years.

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