April Hunter: Redemption & Beyond
To the shallow and the casual, a fighter losing their unbeaten record is often the end. The beginning of the road to nowhere. But in many ways, it can be a new beginning, the start of much better things ahead. Last October, Kirstie Bavington came in at short notice and inflicted the first professional defeat on April Hunter.
“I’ve been devastated, but it’s all learning. I’ve taken so many losses in life and I always come back better. This is no different,” Hunter told Sky Sports as she reflected on her horror night in front of her hometown faithful.
Bavington made it her type of fight not allowing Hunter the room or time to do her thing. Hunter started slowly and even though she gradually found her way back into the fight as the rounds progressed, it came too late to save her night. The points defeat was a setback, but it doesn’t mean her hopes of landing on the world stage are now dead in the water.
Hunter has gone through dark times as she tries to process a fight where she says it was the worst version of April Hunter you are ever likely to see. Someone once said: “You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity.” Hunter knows this better than most.
She hopes it was just an off night, a bad night at the office and normal service will return when she makes her return in the next few months. Hunter is now aligned with Boxxer/Sky and she will be given every opportunity in the coming weeks to put things right.
With redemption and a rematch with Bavington on her mind and with lessons learned Hunter still enters 2022 with much hope. Her beloved Newcastle United have recently been given a new injection of life after much misery in recent years, Hunter will look to draw on that and more when her own career begins the next chapter very soon.
Hunter has been here before in her life, and anyone writing her off after the Bavington defeat might be left disappointed. Hunter has promised a big year ahead, this time next year the loss to Bavington could just be viewed as the best thing to have happened to her. A little bump on the road that led to better things.
Boxing means plenty to Hunter: “Boxing has made me the person I am today. I’m so grateful for it, boxing keeps me right,” Hunter told me last year. If something means everything you tend to get a little more in return.
The defeat in October hit her hard, but in time, the Bavington reverse might end up being a blessing in disguise. Fighters are written off far too harshly after a loss, but a defeat doesn’t have to define a fighter. Equally, it could make them. Hunter will hope the Bavington fight will be the making of her. There is no reason why it won’t.