Lauren Parker: “I want to be a world champion.”

Lauren Parker: “I want to be a world champion.”

Many a professional boxer has to supplement their boxing careers with a day job. Despite the boom of women’s boxing at most levels of the sport, the pay hasn’t yet been reflected to the same extent.

Lauren Parker the super-flyweight prospect is one such fighter who, at least not yet, isn’t able to fully concentrate on her passion. As our Zoom interview connects, Parker is attired in gym gear, and another Personal Training session had just been completed. The day job helps her boxing in many ways. The fitness levels are maintained, the sessions work around her boxing. But before Covid hit the world, things were very different:

“Obviously doing PT sessions I am self-employed, I have my own little studio and I do it as and when I can. I can just mix it around as and when around my boxing. Before the pandemic I was working myself into the ground I was doing so much and if anyone messaged me asking if we can do a session I always said yes. My health was deteriorating, I was so stressed. I was really unhappy I had meltdowns and stuff. When the Pandemic happened I had to stop work and when it started back up again I just said I am not going back to what I used to do I can’t do that no more. I’ve cut my workload in half now and it works really well now with the boxing.”

Parker reflected in Lockdown, the time in isolation was well spent. Looking for the marginal gains that would take her boxing to another level. The mind eased, the body allowed the time to recover, Parker has found what she needs:

“I have got a better work-life balance now. I feel like I have more energy for my training now. Before I was doing hours and hours of PT and there were times I just didn’t want to go to the gym to train or do some sparring, I was miserable and I just didn’t want to do it I was so tired. I think it did affect me and I can say that now because I have progressed so much in the last two years and I put it down to the changes I have made. Sometimes things happen for a reason and it taught me to cut down on what I do and focus on my passion which is boxing. It’s been hard with the money because the pay in women’s boxing isn’t very good, but I think I have got it just right now. If I need to take on more work I have that option but I am looking after number one at the minute”

Boxing is now her focus, the immediate years are primarily aimed at maximising her obvious potential. Her sport is on the rise and Parker has every intention of doing what she needs to grow with it:

“I will do what I can to make my boxing better so I really want to concentrate on my boxing for the next five years, especially with how women’s boxing is right now. You only live once, don’t let it go.”

That willingness to do what it takes has been visible in recent times. Parker has had a good teacher of many things. Time spent in training helping Ebanie Bridges prepare for her recent world title fight was beneficial in many ways. The newly-crowned world champion understands the ‘boxing business’ better than most and understands what it takes to get yourself seen and heard:

“When we were sparring Ebanie kept saying why don’t you come up for the press conference and the weigh-in and experience it. I thought about it and I thought let’s go along it will be such a good experience. I just thought when are you going to get to do something like this again unless you are fighting on a card like that, so I just said don’t let the opportunity go. And I literally had the best weekend ever. That is the ultimate success, where you want to be and fighting in front of a crowd like that gave me goosebumps. I’m so proud of Ebanie but at the same time I need that for me as well.”

Parker took many lessons from her time with Bridges, being confident in front of a camera is almost expected in a sport that is governed by clicks and views. Parker the once shy introverted fighter has been replaced by someone who is totally home on camera. Make no mistake, Bridges can talk, but Parker is perhaps her nearest challenger. There was a spark, confidence and belief in Parker as she relayed her experience of the time spent with the Australian:

“I have loved being with Ebanie for the sparring that was great. But another thing I took from it was the whole business aspect of it. Being with her has also given me a real confidence boost as well. A few years ago when people first started interviewing me I would crumble from the inside. I thought I can’t do this, I got real bad anxiety. But when we went to the press conference I just really came into myself I don’t know what it was, but I just thought I’ve got this. Being around Ebanie she has instilled this confidence in me. She kept saying believe in yourself more, when we were sparring she said cracking spar you are so good.

“I’ve sort of known what my ability is. But sparring with Ebanie has kind of solidified my thoughts. Sometimes you need to hear it from somebody else to help you believe it. Just being around her and feeding off her positive energy and her comments have really built me up. I think I did six interviews that day and if that was two years ago I don’t think I could have done that I think I would have melted. I’ve learnt a lot from her, just how she conducts herself really. A lot of people will slate her for the way she looks or that she has limited experience but she acts like an out and out professional and people don’t really see that. I’ve learnt so much from her, little things like sponsorship. I’m not being funny but nobody teaches you about sponsorship. I’m not comfortable asking for money, but Ebanie says you have to do it, there are people out there who will help you on your journey. You just have to put yourself out there and believe in what you are putting out to them. I’ll be forever grateful because she has taken me up a little notch in terms of confidence. Going forward in my career it’s done wonders for me I have to say.”

Parker 30, seems a different person, a different fighter now. A career that was put on hold during the pandemic is now back up and running. Boxrec have Parker (5-1-1) as their top-rated super-flyweight in the country, but the Stevenage fighter is looking beyond domestic level as she prepares for her next fight at the end of the month:

“I last fought in November so I’d like three or four fights this year, I’d like to have this fight and then in six weeks’ time, I would like to go again. I do want to take it step by step but don’t get me wrong I want to be a world champion and push on as far as I can. I’m in it to give it my best shot and I believe I have the qualities to become a world champion.”

A stoppage win in Sheffield last year demonstrated the exciting style she has, plus a little glimpse of her power that could well help her deliver on the world stage. On April 29th, Parker will a return trip to Sheffield for her eighth professional fight. With a long-term contract with Unified Promotions, Parker looks set for a busy schedule over the next 12 months and she is very much a fighter a looking up and with her best days ahead of her. Parker has been inspired by her time with the IBF bantamweight champion and the aim now is to replicate what Bridges did in Leeds. Parker has been a little unlucky with her career so far, many things have held her back, but she seems now in the perfect place to make up for lost time.

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