Megan Redstall: “I think women such as Katie Taylor have made young women feel so empowered and bought so much attention to the sport.”
The first time Megan Redstall was featured on FightPost was early last year. The world was very different, a largely free world, lockdowns, restrictions were unimaginable. But then everything changed. Redstall was then preparing for her professional boxing debut, like many things, it had to be put on hold. But in a Deja vu like moment we are here again. The dream is rekindled, Redstall finally gets her moment next month in Swindon.
Before Redstall found boxing, the early years took a few turns before the home life found settlement:
“I was born in Bath, lived here for the majority of my younger primary school years, then when I was 6/7 I moved out to Australia with my parents, where I lived for 5 years, finishing off primary school then starting secondary. When I was 12 my parents decided to move back to England and have been here ever since. I have had an amazing upbringing with huge amounts of support from my family in whatever I wanted to do and couldn’t ask for any more, I love them all to bits.”
Redstall from an early stage of her life looked set to have a career of some description in sports:
“I was so sporty at school, I enjoyed doing every sport there was, I competed in every sports teams there were. Cross-country, Athletics and football were predominantly the school sports I played. I also chose Physical Education as my GCSE and A-Levels which I loved delving into the theory side of PE.”
Despite the interest in sports, Redstall knew education was important. Long hours of studying combined with her passion for sports was a necessary requirement for what lay ahead in her future. The hard work was worthwhile and there is a clear career path in the works:
“I have achieved 12 GCSE’s and 3 A-Levels/ 1 AS in Chemistry, Biology and Physical Education, also having an EPQ and I am currently studying at the University of West England studying Paramedic Science. Leading on from this, hopefully, as of next October, I will be a fully qualified paramedic while also taking boxing as far as I can.”
For the aspiring fighter, the hours are long and relentless, the rewards in many aspects of her incredibly busy life are sure to follow. There is studying, training and work, Redstall accepts what is needed. An understanding nothing is given in life:
“Currently I work as a personal trainer, providing fitness classes and 1-2-1’s, while also completing placement blocks throughout the year for my degree, which is 6+ weeks of work, working with a paramedic and ECA, following their shift patterns and learning on the job.”
Everyone has a different story how boxing came into their lives, the story may differ, but boxing has a way of pulling you in. A family ritual was the beginning for Redstall:
“I have also loved any form of martial arts, I remember my father and I used to always watch boxing and UFC fights together and I used to always think I was right up there with them, using the living room rug as my ring.”
Boxing is a brutal unforgiving sport, the hardest sport there is many say. But for Redstall, there is a different feeling, she gets something out of the sport that many will find surprising:
“Sounds very strange me saying this but I find the sport very relaxing and calming, which people find unusual. I think its such a respectful sport and I am grateful to be able to be a part of it professionally.”
Redstall is entering her sport at perhaps the perfect time. Interest is high, after a long fight acceptance of the women’s side of boxing is achieved. The fighters have been given prominent places on major platforms and rarely have they failed to deliver.
That acceptance has come in many ways, not just the ring skills of those involved. We have seen a move away from a perception that you have to look and act in a certain way to be a professional female boxer. Redstall is fully aware of the progress and wants to enhance the sport further in different ways:
“I think that women’s boxing is booming massively and what a great time to be entering the professional ranks. I think women such as Katie Taylor have made young women feel so empowered and bought so much attention to the sport. Also, I find women’s fights so exciting, it is very explosive and such an exciting sport. To keep women’s boxing growing I want to continue to encourage and inspire young women to get involved.
“Also I think breaking the stereotypes of “having to be aggressive and a scary” person to be a boxer, as it could not be further from the truth. Outside of the ring, I’m a very quiet and timid personality, with such a caring and kind nature. People still to this day are so surprised when they find out I box professionally as they would have never have thought I would be. But boxing is all about discipline and control and when I get in the ring its like a switch goes off and its time to get to work.”
Nicknames are almost expected in the modern era, and Redstall has a unique one of her own. ‘Lashes’ is further evidence that she wants to change perceptions and stereotypes:
“The nickname ‘lashes’ originated from my coach, as I LOVE all things girly, I’m such a girly girl, so I always have all my nails and false eyelash extensions on even when I’m absolutely sweating it out in the gym.”
Any fighter has to be happy to thrive. An environment of positivity is vital for progress, too many fighters careers dwindle away when they train somewhere that has a negative impact on mind and body.
The future looks bright for Redstall, what is needed seems already in place:
“I train out of The Contender Gym in Melksham Wiltshire, where I train with the likes of Stu Greener and Rocco Richards. I have such a lovely gym, honestly, everyone is just constantly supporting one another while also having such a laugh. I think that is such an important aspect, especially as it can be so hard but having an element of light-hearted banter really brings everyone together.”
The professional journey should have begun early last year. But when the world stopped when Covid swept the globe, Redstall like many, had her fight cancelled. She told FightPost that the initial disappointment was replaced by looking at the positives from the unfortunate and dreadful events that hit the world last year:
“Due to COVID the fight got cancelled and I was absolutely gutted. But I looked at the positives as it allowed me to improve, even more, train harder than ever and make me even more hungry for the fight.”
The various periods of lockdown over the 17 months or so have been, often tragic for many. Livelihoods gone in an instant, loved ones no longer with us, sadly, a devastating awful consequence of a truly horrific period in recent history.
But Redstall has been one of the lucky ones. The boxing career was on hold, but work elsewhere remained a constant, and Redstall isn’t one to wallow and think about what has been lost, she has looked forward and made the most of what she has:
“I was working at M&S throughout all of the lockdowns, while also having placement which gave me the stimulation so I wasn’t just sat at home all the time. But it was also really nice to have all the family at home together alongside with the beautiful weather making memories and bringing us all close together. I was still training every day, I bought some equipment online and trained as hard as I could.”
After the extended hiatus, the super-flyweight hopeful belatedly makes that long-awaited professional debut next month. Excited doesn’t cover it, the long wait has enhanced the anticipation and hunger. A fighter ready for the first steps, the pain of training embraced:
“I am so excited to be making my professional debut in a months time, I’ve been dreaming and looking forward to this for a long time now. Every aspect I thoroughly enjoy, even down to the hard training and pushing myself both physically and mentally is just such an amazing feeling.”
The ambitions are big, and with a lack of depth the only lingering problem her sport has, her entry is a welcomed one. Redstall will give everything in pursuit of her dream:
“I am looking to go as far as I can within the sport, I want to get to the top and I will give every aspect of myself to the sport in trying to get there.”