Bree Wright: “I want to show people no matter how low you are, you can come back from it.”
By Will Lott
As is common with many boxers, Bree Wright was considered a naughty child when she was at school and as a result, was sent to a club called 393 in Sheffield where she used to train in the gym.
As luck would have it, an amateur coach was impressed enough to invite her over to train and Bree told FightPost this is where her long journey with boxing began. “I ended up just hitting the bags and the coach from an amateur gym was there and said why don’t you come to an actual gym so that’s how I ended up in boxing. I did a bit of football when I was younger to feel fitter, but I’ve never been a team person. I was always angry if my players weren’t doing enough whereas boxing it’s all on me.”
However, it wasn’t until recently that Bree truly started taking the sport seriously.
“I was training but mentally I wasn’t right. I wasn’t taking it seriously. I thought I was but now I know I wasn’t because now I know how much dedication you need. I got to the National Finals, and I wasn’t even giving it 100% back then.”
Eight years out from the sport and suicidal thoughts convinced Bree that she needed to give boxing another go.
“Early on last year, I considered taking my own life. It got to the point that every time I went for a walk, I had to make sure my dogs were with me because I knew I couldn’t leave them. From then on, I just told myself I need to find out what my purpose is. I needed to give it one last shot. Every single job I did, I didn’t feel like I was fulfilling my potential. Nothing made me happy, so I went back to the gym. I was just down spiralling into what it became last year. Everything was just chipping away at me and then bang I got to that low point.”
During her long break, Bree took on a number of different jobs.
“I worked on a railway for a couple of years in Newport but other than that I was a recluse. I’ve always worked but nothing was making me happy, so I never stayed at a job for a long period of time apart from the railway because that earned me good money. I’ve worked in an abattoir and warehouses. I’ve worked everywhere.”
Bree had a habit of training sporadically to lose weight or gain a bit of fitness but not sticking with it but this time she had a goal to reach. She had nearly 30kg to drop if she was going to return to amateur fighting.
“It was mentally challenging losing that weight but as soon as I set foot back in the gym I knew. I know people in the gym expected me to leave again. I’d popped back in the gym over the years but never seriously, I’d never stayed. Since I returned, I’ve lived in the gym. I was ready and focussed.”
Now, having returned and won a Championship with relative ease, she has turned over to the pro game and signed with One Empire Management who will guide her journey.
“I didn’t know when I’d turn but I always had an aspiration to become pro. It was meant to be, with One Empire Management. I wasn’t interested in anyone else. I went to a weigh-in and Jamie Sheldon (Managing Direct of One Empire) was there and he shared my article on Facebook. We had a little chat, not even about turning over and we both got on well.”
Before long things had turned always talk of the professional game. Contracts were signed and Bree now has an exciting year ahead of her.
“It’s been tough getting my licence but we’re thinking end of March, beginning of April for my debut. I reckon we’ll probably get three fights in this year. I’m just taking it as it comes. I’m looking forward to every day rather than just fights. I just listen to what my coach wants me to do and who he wants me to fight. I’m not looking to run before I can walk.”
As with many professional athletes, the opportunity to be a role model and inspiration is certainly not lost on Bree. Especially given she is now the first female professional boxer from Sheffield.
“I want to show people no matter how low you are, you can come back from it. It’s massive for anyone of any age to be able to be an inspiration for anyone that’s struggling with their mental health. Hopefully, I can bring a world title back to Sheffield.”
For now, a short-term goal for Bree is to be on the same bill as a close friend and former world champion Terri Harper.
“It’d be a dream to be on a bill with Terri. She’s mentally strong so she’s definitely going to come back from the Baumgardner fight. We had a chat after that fight and I said to her you can’t be done now I’m coming through. We’re going to get on a bill together.”