Preston’s Lisa Whiteside believes she has put herself in pole position to compete at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The 31-year-old boxer reinforced her standing as England’s No.1 in the flyweight category by winning the Elite National ABA title – for a record-breaking seventh time – at the weekend.
Her unanimous points victory over North Mersey fighter Carly Skelly in the final at the Magna Centre, in Rotherham, means that – barring injury or a major loss of form – she is almost certain to be on the plane to the Gold Coast in just under a year’s time.
It will be just reward for Whiteside, who has never taken part in a major multi-sports events such as the Commonwealth Games before despite being regarded as one of the world’s best over the last few years.
The 2014 World Championship silver medal winner has been unfortunate to be competing in the same weight category as double Olympic champion Nicola Adams.
But with the legendary Leeds star now out of the equation after turning professional last year, it should be Whiteside’s turn to move into the spotlight.
“It’s the seventh time I have won the National ABA Championships – I am pretty sure I have made history,” said the JR Gym ace.
“It was good because even though I am the boxer who is on the Team GB’s squad, I still had to go out and show that I am the No.1 in England. It was also nice to box on home soil. My friends and family were able to watch me.
“This year we have not got too many big competitions, but we have the Commonwealths coming up in April next year and I am looking to cement my spot.”
As the No.1 seed, Whiteside, who fights at the Feliks Stamm tournament in Poland next week, received a bye into the semi-finals in Rotherham where she scored a unanimous points victory over Worksop’s Nicola Hopewell.
“The semis was not my greatest performance,” she said. “But in the final I was a lot more focused because I had to go out and produce.”
Due to a cut in her funding, Whiteside is looking for sponsorship. If you are able to help then please contact her via Twitter on @LisaWhiteside or email firstname.lastname@example.org