Megan Gordon: “Everyone was messaging me saying I can’t believe you are boxing THE Mary Kom, I said what, who’s Mary Kom.”

Megan Gordon: “Everyone was messaging me saying I can’t believe you are boxing THE Mary Kom, I said what, who’s Mary Kom.

First time interviews are always approached with some semblance of caution. As Forest Gump would say, “You never know what you are gonna get.” You prepare and sometimes you hope you have chosen wisely. I’ve been lucky, very lucky in fact over the years. As our mutual Zoom connections eventually joined in harmony, within a few seconds I knew I had chosen well once more. The pleasantries were polite but short, I already knew my contribution to the interview would be equally as short.

The bubbly Scottish fighter on the other end of the line talked and then some. A list of questions was prepared, in truth, I didn’t need them. The diminutive fighter on Zoom didn’t stop talking for 40 minutes. An easy interview, and a fun one. She even tried turning the tables and asked me to tell her all about my life. A fight even she couldn’t win. Now that was a short interview.

An early start is often critical to a career in boxing at the highest level. Scotland’s Megan Gordon discovered her love for boxing at an early age. A local gym, and very much a family affair:

“I started boxing when I was 12. My dad is the Head Coach of the Elgin Boxing Club, he never wanted me to start boxing. I was quite a fat kid when I was younger but after I first started I lost 10kgs in my first year which was obviously a lot of weight to lose for someone of my age. We do a home show every year, it’s such a good atmosphere. Not everyone can afford the dinner shows etc, so we used to charge £5 for all ages and have doughnut stands and everything like that. There was this boy about my age boxing and I said I could do that and my mum kind of just laughed. I said seriously I can do that she said ask dad. I did and he said no. But I always get my own way, so I kept pestering and pestering him. Eventually, he said if you train with me every day for 3 months then you can do it. He didn’t think I could do it, but I did and in my second fight I was the Scottish champion.”

The depth in the Scottish ranks may or may not have been lacking, but the achievement in only her second fight is some statement regardless. But many things have held her back in recent years. Injuries and a worldwide Pandemic halted her progress, and made her reevaluate many things:

“I’ve started going into the coaching side, I love it. We have got some good young fighters now. I started doing the coaching exams through Lockdown because I didn’t know how my hand would be, so I could give back to everyone else, although I do prefer the actual fighting.”

The Lockdown of many things was the latest frustration since Gordon arrived on the scene at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Injuries are part and parcel of the sport, of any sport. Gordon has suffered more than most:

“I basically broke my while boxing for Scotland in Poland a week before my 18th birthday. I was in a Polish Hospital for about 4 hours, I had one of those old-fashioned casts on and that was me out. But I am still having issues now, I am seeing a physio, but I have just been at the gym with my boyfriend and just hit a bag and it went again. That’s the most disheartening thing about any sport, once one thing happens you are constantly thinking about it because you don’t want permanent damage, it’s that catch-22.”

Covid and a broken hand have held Gordon back despite her being over 30 fights into her career. A potential golden future put on hold, it could and should have been different. Immensely talented, that early start reaped its rewards and Gordon found herself in Australia in 2018:

“My Dad said what do you think about the Commonwealth Games. I said I would love to do it but I haven’t hit anything in about 4 months. The first time I would hit something would be at the trials so I wasn’t sure how it would go. I can remember I had just had my eyelashes done, and I then got the call I was going to the Games, and I had just paid £45 for my eyelashes.”

A major tournament, a career still in its infancy, Gordon needed the luck of the draw. She didn’t get it. Instead, Gordon got boxing royalty. But the innocence of those teenage years left Gordon oblivious to what lay ahead:

“I was only 18 it was my first senior fight. Back then I didn’t watch much boxing I was just focused on myself. Everyone was messaging me saying I can’t believe you are boxing THE Mary Kom, I said what, who’s Mary Kom. I then went and Googled her, and thought holy shit. Every fighter got video analysis for their opponents, they said with me they are not going to bother. But at the end of the day, I didn’t get knocked out, I lasted the full 3 rounds and I lost to the eventual winner. It was a really good learning experience, and people tell me you have been in the ring with THE Mary Kom, nobody is going to be better than her.”

Kom defeated Gordon before adding another Gold medal to her impressive collection, but the young Scottish fighter was far from disgraced. Despite losing on points it was experience you couldn’t buy. But fate wouldn’t allow Gordon to build on it:

“I’ve been unlucky my hand has always played up since the initial injury. I had an exhibition in 2019, and then obviously Covid hit and everything stopped. I have been out for so long so I’m not at the level I was. It’s hard to get fights because even though it was so long ago, people Google me and the Commonwealth Games still come up. So I have to do exhibitions and they can be draining because you can’t go full-on.”

But after four years out and much frustration with it, Gordon was back in action last month. A win at the Scottish Open Elite Championships was a nice little taster for the bigger things that undoubtedly lie ahead. The light-flyweight title was secured by virtue of a unanimous decision over Frances Heath. The importance of the tournament wasn’t lost on Gordon:

“I needed the Scottish Championships, I was so nervous because I have been out for so long.”

The time away from boxing left Gordon searching for solace. A new house meant new responsibilities. With an understanding that life goes on outside of the passion the Scottish hopeful has a job that is flexible enough to allow the boxing to continue:

“I work full-time and I coach the youngsters and the beginners as well as my own training. I’m a supervisor, I am a school cook I run three schools. It’s really interesting, one of the kids found out I did the boxing and they said you are actually cooler than I thought. I just thought you have to put everything into that. My boyfriend and I had just got the keys to our new house so we have been pretty full-on with that. Even managing training for the Scottish was hectic. I spoke to my coach about it, you have to be all in and at the end of the day I just wasn’t there.”

With women’s boxing currently in a boom period that shows no signs of slowing down, Gordon would seem a natural to turn professional. But there is no immediate interest in joining the paid ranks, there is still unfinished business in the amateur code. The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham later this year have come too soon, but the ambition to grace the stage where she introduced herself on the world stage still burns:

“You need a good personality and be able to talk well to sell tickets. I know I could do that. But I’ve never fancied turning professional. You obviously start off fighting the journeywomen, but I wouldn’t have the heart to sell tickets knowing I would win rather than it being this will be a hard fight I need to win this. I fancy the Commonwealth Games in 4 years I think but I have never really fancied going pro, but there is still time I am only 22.”

Gordon does have time and plenty of it. With the hand injury still lingering, she will need a little slice of lady luck. But the talent is still there, a refreshing and sensible attitude not to push too hard too soon, there is every chance that golden future is still there ready to be realised.

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