Former LOROS worker picked to box for England in Commonwealth Games as she prepares to head Down Under

Published on 13th February 2018

She started boxing to get fit. Seven years later and Paige Murney will be making her Commonwealth Games debut, as she joins Team England, down under this April.

As she leaves her job at LOROS to commit to the sport full-time, the 23-year-old has told how what was once a hobby has since become her passion, as she prepares to take to the ring for her country.

She is just one of four female boxers chosen to represent England in the tournament.

“I’ve always been into sport and only started boxing to get fit,” says Paige, of Braunstone.

“Once I started sparring though, I loved it straight away. I loved the buzz that I felt when I got in the ring.”

Within months, Paige found herself winning the Junior National Championships. The win got her on the radar of boxing scouts, looking for fresh talent to represent the country and in 2015, she joined team England.

With her boxing career only pointing in one direction and that was up, Paige soon joined Great Britain Podium Potential, with the next step being Podium, which will mean she will have the chance to be picked to fight as part of Team Great Britain at the 2020 Olympics.

The only thing standing in her way has been her weight, with fighting in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games requiring a lower weight than she was. So for the past six months, Paige has been working hard to successfully shed the pounds, which means she now has the chance to be chosen to fight in the 2020 Olympics and furthermore has been selected to fight for England in this year’s Commonwealth Games.

After competing in just one competition at her new weight, when she fought in Serbia earlier this year and bringing home silver, Paige thought she was too late to be considered as part of Team England for the Commonwealth Games.

“It’s so surreal. I’ve only just come down in weight and only had limited international fighting experience so I must’ve really proved myself when I fought in January.”

Paige is one of 12 boxers heading over to Australia, joining three other females and eight male boxers.

“I need to make sure all of my life is dedicated to boxing now,” says Paige, who has worked in the Education department at LOROS for the past four years.

“To be given this opportunity is just amazing and to be fighting in a place like Australia is even better. I’m capable of bringing home gold and that’s what I plan on doing.

“Being part of Team England, representing the country at such a huge event, really does show that determination can pay off.

“I’m so proud of myself. I’ve come from next to nothing and look what I’ve achieved.”

When she isn’t training four times a week with Great Britain, Paige heads back to the ring, where it all began, Leicester’s Unity Boxing Club, in Beaumont Leys.

And it’s her coach, Ajmal Butt, otherwise known as ‘Hudge’, who Paige thanks for her success – that and a very strict diet of course. Minus Christmas Day, the pair trained every single day over the festive period, working hard to achieve Paige’s goal.

“He has been my absolute rock since the start,” says Paige.

“Wherever I fight and whoever I’m fighting for, I will never forget where training began for me. Hudge was there since the start of my career and he will always be there.”

As she steps foot in the ring to fight, Paige says it’s Hudge and her family who are in the back of her mind. It’s home; it’s Leicester, that she’s fighting for.

“I want to do everyone proud; I want to do my coach proud.”

When she started out, Paige was the only girl who trained at the gym. Now, the room is packed full of aspiring young girls.

“We’re all treated the same there; there really is no such thing as a women’s press-up. A press-up, is a press-up.”

Imagining the ultimate dream of entering an arena, packed full of fans shouting her name, as she approaches the ring, Paige says she would walk into Alesha Keys’ ‘Girl on Fire’. It takes her back to where it all started, when she won the Junior National Championships; Hudge bought her this album when as a present for claiming the top spot.

“I remember he said to me there and then, ‘you will box for England one day’. I never thought I would get as far as I would but now look at me.

“Am I nervous? No. I don’t get nervous until the day. Good nerves though, the ones that get the adrenalin pumping.”

This year’s Commonwealth Games will be taking place in Australia’s Gold Coast, from 4th until 15th April.

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