Louise Orton: Finally

Louise Orton: Finally

‘You can label Louise Orton in many ways. Britain’s unluckiest fighter, British boxing’s best-kept secret, would both be more than reasonable.’

These were my opening words when I interviewed Louise Orton late last year just days after yet another heartbreaking disappointment. Multiple fights have come and gone without reward. A professional boxer since 2019, Orton has had some run of bad luck, a fighter still waiting for her professional debut. There are many hard-luck stories in boxing, in recent times, this story is one of the worst.

It’s been hard and at times thoughts turned to walking away for good. Plain and simple, Orton lost faith. She lost hope. Mentally broken just before Christmas after her latest planned launch into the professional ranks came to nothing, Orton took a short break to refresh the mind and body and make changes to her fighting inner circle.

But this Friday, Orton goes again. Or maybe, hopes again is more accurate. Despite there being a sense of more promise this time, confidence even, Orton will likely hold her breath until she is in that London ring and there is an opponent ready and waiting in the opposite corner.

The opponent is in the country, this time there is a feeling it will finally happen. A fighter who deserves better, her introduction looks imminent. Finally.

Live on Fightzone, Orton will look to make a statement on her long-awaited debut. The disappointment might have tested many things, but the confidence in her abilities has been resolute. Before Terri Harper lost to Alycia Baumgardner in Sheffield last year, Orton openly expressed her belief she could beat Harper, even on her debut. Come close of play on Friday night, the super-featherweight division could have a potential new star in waiting.

In the short term, it’s about being active, but you sense if Orton is offered an opportunity to push hard, she will answer the call with much vigour. There is lost time to make up. The unpaid career was one of titles and many of them, the professional career looks certain to replicate her success as an amateur. Very quickly, British boxing’s best-kept secret label will be a thing of the past.

The skills inside the ring are one thing but there is a story outside of the ring that needs telling and will help push her story further. The teenage rebel that didn’t have a cause until boxing gave her one. Early years without any kind of desire to learn has given way to the exact opposite. A rewarding day job that gives back to the community, a passion that will secure the long term for Orton and others:

“I’ve got an undergraduate in psychology and criminology, I’ve also got a Masters in forensic psychology and another Masters in mental health nursing. At the moment I am working in the prison service as a mental health nurse and I will probably stay working within the prison population. My long-term aim is to set up a charity or an organisation for ex-prisoners with mental health problems and get them involved in sport.” The fighter is fighting for many.

But now Orton has renewed hope for the short term, the wait has been long, too long, the phone didn’t ring when it should have. Avoided, forgotten, it seems a strange one that Orton was on the outside looking in for so long, especially when so many in the sport rate her so highly. A definite case of a missed and lost opportunity for many a promoter. Friday is very much a new beginning, a new start for a fighter that incredibly quickly could land on the world scene.

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