Ladies pack a punch

This Is Wiltshire: Bec Connolly Bec Connolly

TONI Sherwood and Bec Connolly will make history on Saturday night when they compete in Swindon’s first ever all-female white collar boxing match – all in the name of charity.

The pair, who both live in the town, are set to face off at the MECA as part of Swindon Fightclub’s Xmas Carnage show, with both fighters raising vital funds for Prospect Hospice over three rounds.

The duo, who didn’t know each other before being matched up for the show, have only been involved in regular boxing training for a year ahead of the unlicensed fight this weekend.

Bec, an intervention youth worker at Stratton Education Centre, is pleased to have the chance to raise money for the hospice and hopes the bout can help change the attitude towards women in boxing.

“I see young women day in day out with low self esteem caused by living in a society where more importance is placed on looks than on ability, before we know it we have a generation of girls that look great but without any real substance to them,” the 29-year-old said.

“What I don’t like is seeing women where that’s all they feel they can do or all they have to offer.

“I have come up against the expected comments in the course of doing this about the way I look – men saying I should be a ring girl, not be fighting or that they are looking forward to seeing what we wear instead of our actual fight.

“I’ve got a sense of humour and I have the thickest of skin but it just highlights the lack of respect women get sometimes.

“Even if one young girl watches this and thinks 'hell yeah I want to give that a go’ it will not only have been raising money for a great cause but worth it too.”

Toni decided to take up boxing after watching her brother Kane in action, and while she is pleased to be raising money for charity the 34-year-old insisted both boxers would be taking things seriously.

“When I said I wanted to fight they thought I was joking but I’m deadly serious,” she said.

“They’ve been trying to sort out a female fight for the show for nearly a year but it’s been hard finding me an opponent, but we’ve got one now and I’m really looking forward to it.

“We met each other a week ago and have spoken on Facebook and we’ve been pretty polite to each other, especially compared to the men.

“We’re doing it for charity which is good, although we are both going to be taking it seriously, but win or lose the charity is the winner. I only spar with the men down at Walcot and it’s come from there, and sparring with the men has toughened me up and I prefer it.”

Tickets for the Fightclub show, which starts at 7pm, remain on sale direct from the MECA or online at www.swindontickets.co.uk, at £20 or £40 VIP.

Ticket prices rise to £25 on the night. Donations to Prospect can be made at www.justgiving.com/ Rebecca-Connolly84

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