Whiteside's aim is to have no regrets
There are no guarantees that Lisa Whiteside will ever get the opportunity to appear on the biggest stage of all '“ the Olympic Games.
But the Preston boxer is determined to have no regrets – no matter what the future may hold – when she finally hangs up her gloves, whenever that may be.
The JR Gym ace can already boast of a brilliant career inside the ring which has seen her claim medals on the World and European stage.
But she has also taken her fair share of knocks along the way – most notably missing out on selection for the past two Olympic Games to Team GB golden girl Nicola Adams.
The past couple of years have been a particular struggle for the 31-year-old, who has had to contend with a number of physical issues.
Last year her participation in the sport was seriously at risk after she fractured her skull in a freak accident away from the ring.
Happily she made a full recovery from that worrying ordeal, and there are signs that she is getting back close to her best.
A bronze medal in the flyweight division at the European Championship last week was a great confidence booster for the former policewoman – especially as it came so soon after she underwent surgery to correct a long-standing shoulder injury.
There is now an air of optimism in the air around Whiteside as she targets her first appearance at the Commonwealth Games, in Australia, in two years’ time, followed by the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
“I was happy with my performance at the Europeans last week,” said Whiteside, who won a World Championship silver medal in 2014. “I was gutted not to win gold but know that I am still not at the top of my game and there is a lot more to come from me.
“My coaches at Team GB were so happy.
“They said to me, ‘You know what Lisa, the next four years are going to be so exciting’.
“I have got a couple of major tournaments coming up next year, but the year after is the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
“Then there will be the World Championships and before we know it, Tokyo will be here.
“I can see my coaches really believe in me and they said that I will medal in Tokyo.
“There are no gurantees that I will go to Tokyo – there are no guarantees in boxing.
“There are going to be girls up and coming and Nicola Adams has not yet confirmed what the next steps in her future are going to be.
“She might stay part of Team GB – I just don’t even know yet.
“But you know what, I don’t know because I have not been concentrating on that.
“I have just been concentrating on what I’m doing and the key for me is to just enjoy it, give it my best shot and have no regrets.”
Whiteside paid a special tribute to her long-standing trainer Mick Day, who has helped her immensely especially over the last 18 months.
“People say you shouldn’t do something for anybody else, but I wanted to go out to Sofia and bring Mick a medal home,” she said. “He’s always been there for me through the head and shoulder injuries. He’s never given up on me.”