Shannon Courtnenay reveals her inspirations keeping her going during lockdown

Shannon Courtnenay reveals her inspirations keeping her going during lockdown

Published On Saturday, April 18, 2020By British Boxing News
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Shannon Courtnenay studies Roberto Duran and listens to Frank Sinatra in coronavirus lockdown

'The Baby Face Assassin' Shannon Courtnenay (5-0, 2KOs) is sharpening her boxing skills during the coronavirus lockdown by studying her hero Roberto Duran while listening to her favourite singer Frank Sinatra.

Unbeaten bantamweight Courtenay, 26 from Watford, may be "bloody bored" and unable to box or spar at this time of social distancing, but she's far from inactive.

"I've been running every day long distance, half marathons even, and my legs feel terrible because I can't get physio or massage, " Courtenay told Sky Sports.

"Normally, I'd have that once or twice a week. I'm not training quite as hard as I would in camp, but don't have the support and I'm missing the sports massage - you need that with what we put our bodies through."

Courtenay raced to 5-0 within her first nine months as a pro and was due to be very busy this spring, but like millions of people in the UK, her calendar has been cleared by the coronavirus.

"I was supposed to be out on April 24 (the undercard of Terri Harper vs Natasha Jonas) and again on May 23 for Chisora-Usyk. I had a really busy couple of months coming up. We had a plan. I knew what was happening to get to those bigger fights, it's put me back."

Courtenay is in full-on isolation. She lives alone and apart from dropping off food to the older members of her family and waving to them from the kerb, she's had no human-to-human interaction for weeks. But she credits boxing for giving her the discipline and mental strength to endure.

"Boxing has made me mentally strong, made me more resilient. I hear about a lot of people staying indoors at the moment, just drinking. And fair enough, you have to do what you have to do to get through this, but boxing has given me a focus."

"It's pure boredom with the extra time on my hands. I've even downloaded Tik Tok! My agent told me to download it last year and I sit there watching videos on there, it's funny," she chuckled.

Courtenay has turned her hand to philanthropy too at a time when small businesses, including boxing clubs, face a rocky financial future. She donated one of the gloves from her pro debut to raise £1000 to help keep her first fighting home going.

"The biggest thing is my old amateur club - Islington Boxing Club. It's a massive, massive club. For them to close (because of lockdown) is a massive hit. They've been whacked. It's big, two big floors and it takes a lot of money just to keep them going."

And Courtenay's convinced amateur boxing clubs going to the wall would not only be a blow to the sport's pro ranks, but also society.

"It's the fact that Islington Boxing Club keeps hundreds and hundreds of kids off the street and that's helped get knife crime way down in the area. But those clubs are huge to the sport too. It's the grassroots where we all started. It's vital we keep them going for the sport."

It's not just clubs that are feeling the pinch. Courtenay like most pro fighters is freelance, getting paid when she boxes, and her last bout was back in December. She's aware the situation isn't sustainable long term for many in the fight game.

"I'm still being paid by some sponsors. But I've got bills to pay, a house to pay for, food and outgoings that don't stop. But the entire nation is in the same boat, we're all struggling."

Shannon was last in action on December 19, scoring her second stoppage win at the Yok Hall in Bethnal Green. While income may be a concern for Courtenay, she's certainly willing to forgo her slice of ticket sales if boxing's comeback has to be behind closed doors.

"I don't care. I'd fight in my back garden tomorrow!" She said, laughing.

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