‘It’s not just a boy’s sport’ - a Norwich boxing club’s bid for more female members
- Credit: Archant
'There's no such word as can't' – these were the words heard at a Norwich gym where aspiring boxers were training hard.
And although the Kickstop gym was mostly filled with boys and men sparring and training with punch bags, more girls and women are being encouraged to get into boxing, as coach Kerry Norfolk looks to expand the club.
Mrs Norfolk, 42, is leading the drive to get more people involved in Norwich City Amateur Boxing Club, but she's especially keen for women and girls to come forward, dispelling thoughts that boxing is a male sport.
'My official role is the club secretary, but I'm also the only female coach,' said Mrs Norfolk, who first got into boxing more than 20 years ago. She said she thought it was important for women to get involved so they feel more confident and were more able to protect themselves.
'I think boxing drives self-confidence and self-esteem,' she said.
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One of the club's success stories is 16-year-old boxer Charlie Plant who has been boxing for around a year and a half.
The City Academy pupil said: 'I saw my brother doing it and I had done lots of sports and activities before which didn't stick.
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'It looked really fun because you're in there on your own. I like the feeling you get, it's not the training so much – that's hard work – but the feeling of being in the ring.'
Miss Plant, who lives on Earlham Road, was carded in October, which means she is now able to compete in fights. And after taking part in her first home show in November she was keen for more girls to get involved.
'I want to have more people to match up with,' she said. 'It's hard to find people to fight, but it's not just a boys' sport, if girls get into it they will love it.'
Olivia Pierce, 10, was one of the younger girls at the first training session held on Tuesday night at Kickstop Gym, Norwich.
She said she went to boxing to have fun. And although she didn't have any issues fronting up to the boys, she said she would like to see more girls join too.
Mrs Norfolk, who lives in Denton with her husband and three children, said: 'For young women there's something about being really fit, I don't think there's a sport as good as boxing for that.'
Issy Wardlow agreed, and said that was the reason she started.
'I wanted to get fit,' said the Thorpe St Andrew School student, who lives in Brundall.
'Most of my friends are dancers but this is fun and there's more things to do.'
And Mrs Norfolk has high hopes for the 15-year-old, who has moved into the class which could see her carded soon.
She added: 'I never thought I'd see the day a woman would win an Olympic boxing title, then we had Nicola Adams and now she's going professional.
'My hope is we could have the next female Olympic boxer in Norwich.'
As well as wanting more boxers to come forward, Mrs Norfolk said the club was also on the lookout for help in other ways.
'The club is run by volunteers – no one gets paid,' she said.
'It'd be great for anyone with an interest to get involved, even if they don't want to box. No one needs to have a history of boxing or any experience, just get involved in the club.
'We are desperate for volunteers to come forward to help with completing the content of our new website. And we also need volunteers to help out – people to take the money, anything to help.
'Plus we are looking for sponsorship to help with support for our licensed boxers and moving to new premises. We're really looking for new premises, we need somewhere bigger.'
If you think you can help, call Mrs Norfolk on 07772 801373, email secretary@Norwichcityabc.co.uk or search 'Norwich City A.B.C.' on Facebook.
Nicola Adams MBE is officially Great Britain's most successful female boxer of all time, and is the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist in the women's flyweight division.
Having also become world champion in May 2016 she secured a grand slam of titles, and is the only female boxer in the history of the sport to have won every major title available to her: Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth.
Mrs Norfolk pointed to Miss Adams as an inspiration to girls wanting to come into the sport, and said they should be encouraged by her success.