Women’s boxing has been having a growth spurt in popularity over the past few years. With names such as Claressa Shields, Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano and Jessica McCaskill, the ladies of the sweet science are getting closer to the stage that they deserve.
WBA female bantamweight champion Shannon Courtenay (7-1, 3 KOs) is part of a group that aims to reach the next level of popularity. Courtenay is coming off of a high-profile unanimous decision over Ebanie Bridges back in April to claim the vacant title and is set to make her first defense of that belt against Jamie Mitchell on the undercard of Liam Smith’s bout against Anthony Fowler.
The fight with Mitchell is one that has been postponed due to injury but Courtenay is ready to get back in the ring and prove that she’s should be mentioned as one of the best female boxers on the planet.
“There was a lot of frustration because the date changed like three times and the opponent changed,” Courtenay said. “But that’s happened to me before … I didn’t get too frustrated and I’m getting used to it.
“But it’s worked out for the better because I’m on a stacked card and I’m buzzing to be on the show.”
Courtenay has had an attitude change over the past year. Following her first professional loss to Rachel Ball last August, the English fighter found herself relieved of the pressure to protect that undefeated record.
“Before that fight, I was too cocky and it was a lot of things that humbled me that night,” she noted. “It was also a massive lesson inside and outside of the ring. I don’t let too much get to me now.“
Courtenay has always brimmed with confidence, but she admits that her ego needed to be put in check. And that humbling experience has allowed her to figure out her faults and improve in a way she doesn’t think she could have imagined without tasting defeat.
“I had a loss, didn’t I?” she said of how she was able to reel it in. “The zero is off your shoulders so that pressure is gone. You don’t have to hold on to that ‘0’ that so many fighters put pressure on. You realize that you made mistakes and you build on them. I’ve come back to training even harder.
“I worked my ass off and became world champion so (the loss) has actually done me some good.”
And now that she has the title, she is more than ready to turn back any opponent who thinks they can step up and take it from her.
The heavy-hitting Mitchell has promised to take the title back to the States but Courtenay is not interested in taking another loss and giving up what she worked so hard to acquire.
“That WBA title is not leaving the UK,” she said. “I’m guaranteeing this to you now. Sunday morning I’ll be sitting at my mom’s house with all my family.
“And still (the champ).”
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