Boxer Shannon’s Olympic ambition

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Rising Chorley boxer Shannon Charnley is ready to be a big hit in the sport.

The fourteen-year-old is a member of former British welterweight champion Michael Jennings’ gym – the only female fighter at the Coppull Mill establishment – and will hear shortly if she has made the North West squad.

She has had one skills bout so far and has more fights planned – the problem is finding opponents.

“It all started as I wanted to find a way to keep fit a couple of years ago,” said Charnley, who attends Holy Cross Catholic High School. “I went to one boxing session with girls but I decided I wanted to box properly than just use it as fitness.

“I went to the gym run by Michael Jennings and he was really welcoming and now always gives me words of encouragement and his brother Dave also helps me train.

“There are no other girl boxers there so I now spar with the boys which means I have to hit harder –and be prepared for their hits!”

Shannon admits a black eye is her worst injury so far although she is worried about a flat nose. I think I did fracture my nose once but you just have to get on with it. I just enjoy doing – it boosts my confidence and it motivates me. It keeps me off the streets.

“My mum does worry about me boxing and always asks if I am alright but my dad likes me doing it.

“I have only had one skills fight so far as it is difficult to find girls of my weight, 60kg, to fight against but hopefully something will be set up in the near future.”

Shannon, who also runs five times a week and is going to join Red Rose Running Club to help her with this, has sparred at various gyms including ex-world champion Ricky Hatton’s and she said the coaches there were pleased with her ‘strong jab’.

“I trained there and they said I was a prospect which was nice,” she said.

“It all helps me believe in myself and now I want to put it into practice. My dream is to compete at the Olympics. I believe I can do it.”