Preston fighter Lisa Whiteside has dedicated her victory over Dani Hodges on her professional debut to her late father Frank

Lisa Whiteside on her way to victory over Dani Hodges
Lisa Whiteside on her way to victory over Dani Hodges

Lisa Whiteside believes Divine intervention decreed that she would make her debut as a professional boxer last weekend.

The Preston flyweight had been waiting patiently for her first fight in the paid ranks after leaving the amateur game behind in January.

After a couple of false dawns, Whiteside – who won Commonwealth Games gold – finally made her bow on the undercard of Bill Joe Saunders’ world title bout against Shefat Isufi at Stevenage FC’s Lamex Stadium on Saturday.

Her debut – and subsequent victory – against Dani Hodges came exactly six years since the untimely death of her father Frank.

His influence and memory is still a big part of her life – indeed the moustache design on her shorts is a tribute to him.

And she felt that it was apt that her debut fell on the anniversary of her dad’s passing.

“It was my dad’s anniversary last week and weirdly enough six years ago, I got on the Team GB squad at the same time as I lost my dad,” said Whiteside.

“If you see on my shorts I have got the moustache in memory of my dad. I came out for the ring walk to a song called ‘If You Could See Me Now’ by The Script.

“It was very fitting really. It’s kind of a great timing that when as a family we have these tough times, we have managed to strive through it.

“I went for a meal at my mum’s with the rest of my family on Sunday after I arrived back.

“It was just nice to celebrate my win but also be together so that we can reminisce about my dad.”

Having secured her first win as a pro, Whiteside is now keen to press ahead with her plans to become world champion and also defeat long-time British rival and two-time Olympic champion Nicola Adams.

“My journey is to become world champion,” said Whiteside, who won a silver medal at the 2014 World Championships in South Korea.

“If myself and Adams have that meeting down the line then happy days.

“That is what people want – that is what people keep asking me about.

“We will just have to wait and see what happens.

“She’s gone very quiet at the minute. She pulled out of her last fight. To be honest, I am not that bothered.

“She’s not a world champion as a pro and she’s only had five fights.

“To be fair, if you compare my debut to her debut as a pro – she was in with a complete nobody. At least my opponent came to fight and gave me the opportunity to show my skills set.

“I am not here to box nobodies. I have seen some women fights where one of them is just in there to survive.

“How is that showcasing women’s boxing? I was glad Dani Hodges came to fight.”