Teenage boxing talent fights for GB contract
Chesterfield teenager Jade Ashmore is aiming to impress as she steps up her training during a three-month trial with the GB Boxing national development squad.
Fresh from boxing Canadian Olympian, Mandy Bujold, the Bradford College student is focussing on balancing her own Olympic ambitions with gaining coaching qualifications out of the ring.
Already European Youth bronze medallist, the 19-year-old from Chesterfield ABC is hungry for further success, admitting “I never back out of a fight – that’s my problem!”
The Elite National Championship in 2016 was flyweight Ashmore’s first competition as a senior and saw her take on experienced international Lisa Whiteside in the final.
“Being a senior is a completely different game but I felt used to getting bigger hits from sparring with men in training.
“I boxed a decent girl in the semis and got through to finals with nothing to lose. I knew I just had to get in there and last two rounds.
“There was a proper good atmosphere at the Echo arena. ACDC’s Thunderstruck is my ring walk song and as I came out the lights went up and smoke machines went off.
“Although Lisa won, I put in good performance for full two minutes and was selected for the national development squad as a result.”
Ashmore’s progress has been boosted with help from TASS, having been able to access services from delivery site, Sheffield Hallam University, until her recent step up to world class potential.
“The physio practitioners at Sheffield have been really good as I’ve had two sprained elbows and they’ve just fixed me up straight away,” she said.
“I’ve also used the nutrition service loads. They helped by creating both a making weight and a training weight programme for me. So I can now train and feel like I’m putting 100% into the session and when making weight I know I’m still fuelling my body properly.
“I wouldn’t have been able to afford all this support myself. It’s probably put me forward a year.”
The additional support from TASS no doubt assisted Ashmore when she recently flew out to Canada to fight arguably her toughest opponent to date, Olympian Mandy Bujold.
“It was a great opportunity to box someone as experienced as Mandy and see how I’m performing against a top-class opponent.
“I then spent week on camp with Mandy and the Canadian team and got lots of tips about how to improve my boxing.
“The whole experience being put out of comfort zone, in another country and with no distractions was brilliant.
“In the future, I want to box at major championships, Euros, worlds and ultimately at Tokyo 2020. As I’m the same weight category Lisa Whiteside, I’ll have to prove myself against her to be selected, but at the moment I’m happy as I’m ahead of where I should be”
So how did this talented boxer get into such a typically male-dominated sport? Being one of three sporty siblings, Ashmore explains how her family inspired her to try it out.
“I always enjoyed sports at school but started boxing aged about 12 or 13 because my brother went and I wanted to learn about self-defence.
“One of the main obstacles I found being a girl was how hard it was to get bouts in the first place. Some coaches weren’t too interested in registering me for fights.
“At our club there was only me and my little sister, who was 6 years old at the time. It’s a challenge to keep your motivation up when there’s so few people to box.”
Thankfully Ashmore has pursued her ambitions, spurred on by role models like legend Mike Tyson. “He’s got to be one of my favourite boxers,” she said.
“Just the fact that he was world champ so young. He amazes me when I watch him box; his fast shot, hits hard and how he was short for his weight, like me.
“I get quite a few follows on social media now from pro boxers and Anthony Joshua liked one of my posts. I get a proper buzz from that kind of recognition.”
Alongside her training, Ashmore is also determined to gain the necessary qualifications to help her give back to the community and inspire girls to get involved with boxing.
“I’m doing my Level 3 Sport Diploma at Bradford College at the moment, as well as my gym instructor course and Level 1 England Boxing coaching course.
“I’d like to continue with personal training and pass my experience onto future boxers, which I’ve already started doing through work with Sporting Futures, putting on boxing and football classes.
“It’s great to see participation has picked up a lot since I started boxing and there’s a good few girls coming through. There’s about fifty at Warrington now!
“There’s still stuff that could change and improve, like a women’s ranking list in Boxing News magazine, instead of just the men’s section.
“With people like Katie Taylor having turned pro, it’s raised the profile of women’s boxing, but there still isn’t as much broadcast and I think more could be done.”