Brave boxer Ashling, from Oulton Broad, set for ring debut in Norwich
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013
Most people approach their 50th birthday by planning a party or a nice holiday.
But Ashling Rivá from Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, has been preparing for a daunting challenge this weekend, when she takes part in the first-ever all-female bout on a regular white collar boxing show in Norwich.
Ashling, a medical secretary manager at the James Paget University Hospital, will be making her ring debut as part of the Ultimate Boxing masters event on Sunday – a month before she turns 50.
For the past 18 months the mother-of-one has been preparing for her first fight with a tough training regime at the Ultimate Boxing gym in Lowestoft High Street.
Her first scheduled bout last November was called off three weeks into her training, but now Ashling – known to friends and colleagues as Ash – is ready for Sunday's contest over three, two-minute rounds against Jemma Thomas, 27, from Scratby, at the city's Epic studios.
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She said: 'Most people do things at 50, such as going to Las Vegas, but I'll be able to say I've had my first fight – how fantastic is that?
'I just want to soak up the atmosphere and, win or lose, it is a fantastic opportunity to say I have done it. It's one of those memory-making moments and hopefully I'll do myself proud.
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'I am really chuffed to represent the gym as its first female boxer. I do feel that extra pressure being a female fighter, but the support of my coaches, work colleagues, friends and family has kept me going.'
Her coach at Ultimate Boxing, Matt Smith, said Ashling's determination convinced him it was time to set up the bout. 'She's got the fitness and real perseverance.
'Ashling really has the boxing bug and she did from the very beginning. When she said she wanted to fight, I thought 'why not?''
Lowestoft's Craig Poxton will also be returning to the ring on Sunday's show, as he prepares to box professionally again in May. He will have a warm-up fight against the Russian David Miko.
Other fighters from Lowestoft in action include Gary Warford, Jimmy Worton and police officer Paul Larter. Doors open at 4pm, with tickets available from the Ultimate Boxing gym or via www.ultimateboxing.co.uk