Lauren Parker: Making Up For Lost Time
By Will Lott
After two years of inactivity as a result of Covid, Lauren Parker is set to return to the ring at the end of this month on an all-female card presented by promotional newcomer Unified Promotions.
With a current record of 4-1-1, Parker is keen to pick up where she left off. Despite being a shy child, it was Kickboxing that started Lauren’s love affair with combat sports.
“At about 13, my dad used to take me to watch Kickboxing shows. I think the seed was planted then but I was always quite shy as a kid, but I never really acted on it until I was about 18. I went to another show, and it happened to be the same promoter as it was when I first went at 13. I spoke to some of the fighters, bit the bullet and went along to some of the classes.”
However, it wasn’t long before the idea of boxing was too strong for Lauren to ignore despite having never competed in Kickboxing. As is often the case, it was the depth of the competition in boxing that intrigued Lauren.
“I went along to Stevenage Boxing Club where I was introduced to Paul Day who is my current coach. He took me under his wing, and I just felt there was a bit more to the boxing training. There are more opportunities in boxing in terms of getting on certain shows and what you can aim for which was appealing.”
Sadly, even in amateur boxing, politics got in the way of potential opportunities for Lauren as England Boxing set up Alliance Boxing.
“Stevenage Boxing Club decided to switch to the Alliance and move away from England boxing. It left me with no competition as the rule was if you were an Alliance boxer you couldn’t fight an England boxer.
“A period of time passed, and I even went back and tried a bit of K1, but I didn’t take to it.”
Before long, talk of turning pro came about.
After just twenty amateur fights and a Haringey Box Cup gold medal in 2015, Lauren made the decision to follow her training partner William Webber into the pro game.
“I bit the bullet and someone I knew got me in contact with a manager, Mervyn Turner, who came down the gym one day and pretty much signed me there and then. It wasn’t in my sights, but the opportunity arose, and I guess I took it because of the circumstances but it’s probably the best decision I made.”
A strong start in the paid ranks stuttered slightly after a shock defeat in just Lauren’s third fight.
“I was due to box someone else, but it fell through, and she was replaced by Dani Hodges. She tried to throw everything at me, and it was one of those where I felt like I was picking her off much better. I was the more technical boxer, but it depends on the opinion of the referee. She got the decision with her being slightly busier, but a lot of the punches were landing on the arms. You learn from it, and you move on.”
Sure enough, just as Lauren was getting back on track following a tough draw and two comfortable wins, Covid struck, and the country was sent into lockdown.
“I’ve just been training throughout. When Covid hit, my contract didn’t run out with Mervyn until August 2020, so I had all that time, but he didn’t try to get me on any big shows. It was a matter of inactivity in competition but in terms of training if anything I’ve done more. We’ve been working on technical ability and strength and conditioning. I feel more confident now.”
Now managed by Steve Goodwin and promoted by Unified Promotions, Lauren will be hoping to make up for lost time as she prepares to make her ring return on November 26th on an all-female card in Sheffield.
“I haven’t boxed under Steve yet because of Covid but he set me up with Unified Promotions who are just getting started. Susannah Schofield has been really pushing women’s boxing and right now in the sport, the women are right up there and it’s exciting. Now is the time to be involved. I don’t think there has been an all-female card in the UK so it’s turning corners and exciting to be a part of it.”
Whilst women’s boxing can be accused of lacking depth in terms of talent, it certainly leads to more opportunities for the fighters and hopefully, title fights are not far away from Lauren’s sights.
“You’re going to move up the ranks quickly. We have titles in mind. I might feel comfortable with a couple of warm-up fights before heading for titles, especially with two years out but to be honest, I’m not really in control of who I fight, tell me who I’m fighting, and we’ll discuss it as a team. I’m probably ready now to take what comes to me. My contract with Unified Promotions is a six-fight deal.”
Hopefully, with the country now seemingly in better shape following the pandemic there will be vast opportunities and shows for Lauren to continue to fight on and get her career up and running again.