Chloe Watson: “I want to be a world champion but my goals go way past that.“
Sometimes you get a feeling. Sometimes you just know.
There are times when you interview a fighter, even for the very first time and even before their first professional fight, you sense you are speaking to a fighter who has a very bright future ahead of her. Chloe Watson is one such fighter.
Watson, the Birkenhead flyweight prospect clearly has something and not just the confidence from an amateur career that was short but rewarding. A Team GB standout, a two-time national amateur champion and Youth Commonwealth Games gold medallist. Watson told FightPost that despite her young age and plenty of life still left in the unpaid ranks, the timing is right to turn professional now:
“It just seems the right time and I just feel ready for it.”
Watson is only 21 and has years ahead of her. She has time on her side and could easily have stayed on Team GB and aimed for the Paris Olympics in just three years time. Despite the Olympics being a long-time aim, Watson has changed track and has set new targets for her boxing career:
“The Olympics was a lifetime ambition of mine and of course I was on the team. But then I went travelling last year, and nobody knew what was happening with amateur boxing and I started to think that times are changing. I had already had a year out and I thought I might as well turn over now. The Olympics used to be the pinnacle of women’s boxing, but I always knew from an early age that I wanted to turn pro and bring new eyes to it but obviously, Katie Taylor has already done that. So I always had an aim to turn over but the Olympics were my main goal at the time. But I have guessed I have just changed my main goal now.”
Women’s boxing has boomed in a relatively short period of time after years of indifference and apathy. There are more opportunities out there now, major platforms and promoters are now wanting in. Matchroom Boxing have done so much to promote women’s boxing and deserve credit for it. But they are not the only show in town.
Watson had many offers on the table, a sign of her potential, but she decided to join the ever-expanding Wasserman Boxing stable of fighters:
“I was always going to turn pro be it now or in six years time. But I thought if that is my goal now I am just keen to get the ball rolling straight away. I just explored my opportunities and seeing what’s what. I wanted to explore different avenues but I ended up going with Wasserman Boxing. They just seemed like the best option, the money was good the opportunities were good. For me, it just felt right and my management was onboard they were really positive about it.”
Watson spent 10 months backpacking in Australia last year, an extended stay because Covid hit while she was there. It was a battle for survival in many ways, hustling for jobs to pay for the stay, trying to stick to the Covid rules in a populated environment. Despite being trapped in a foreign country unable to get home, Watson made the best of a bad situation:
“It was scary at first. But as a backpacker with Covid around, you didn’t know where you stood and obviously, we didn’t have a home, so we had to stay in hostels. It was so much fun even though you were sharing a room with say six complete strangers. But it was still scary because if there was a full lockdown we didn’t know where backpackers would have to go.”
The love for boxing came at an early year. A battle for dominance in the family home got the competitive juices going, before a visit to the local boxing gym solidified her future:
“I was always fighting with my brother, I was a little tomboy. I was just really competitive, I always wanted to beat my brother. I was doing loads of different sports but I just took to boxing. As soon as I walked into the gym I thought that this is a bit of me.”
The Liverpool connection is strong, a fighting city, inspirations are easy to find. Despite the tough competition, Natasha Jonas is an obvious choice for inspiration:
“Obviously Tasha Jonas was a big inspiration with her being so close to home, to see her do so well has obviously driven me as well to do the same.”
Watson despite her youth, has chosen well at the start of her professional career. With the connections of Wasserman she will get the fights and on a big stage.
But the good choices have been made elsewhere also. The building blocks in the gym decide the success or failure of any career. Ricky Hatton needs no introduction, and Watson will learn her trade under his experienced eye. An initial trial is now a permanent setting:
“I went up there twice a week at first and then it was three times a week. Then about two or three weeks in I thought I will just stay here. I’m staying here now Monday to Friday. I just went up and Ricky had a little look at me and we just went from there. He likes to put himself in your mindset or the opposition’s mindset to say how you are going to do this or that. Ricky is obviously good with his boxing knowledge because he has been there and done it. He’s really good and it’s good to be around someone like that because it can help a lot.”
The ambitions are balanced but Watson is aiming high. Very high. It’s not about being a world champion it’s about being the world champion.
“Initially I just want to go in there and enjoy it. I want to be a world champion but my goals go way past that. I want to be the best it is as simple as that. Sometimes even if you become a world champion there might still be someone out there who in your head you think they might beat me. I don’t want that, I want to think nobody is beating me and I want to prove that I am the best.”
Watson hopes to make her debut before the year is out. Sky and Boxxer are still in the process of finalising their schedule, but the debut should arrive in November.
The confidence is obvious, but there is no arrogance, only conviction. Her sport is on a roll, and the future looks secure. This time it is no false dawn. The current stars are doing their thing, but the next wave, the new generation are coming. Chloe Watson looks set to be part of that golden future.