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Q&A with Powerhouse Boxer and Sports Exercise Science Student Ava Doherty

Ava Doherty, is a Level 3 Sport and Exercise Science student at Newcastle College. Beyond the classroom, she’s also a champion boxer and despite having only started competing in the sport for just over a year, she’s quickly made a name for herself as one to watch.

We caught up with Ava who told us how she got into the sport and why she loves it...

How did you get into boxing?

My dad competed when he was younger and he used to take me and my two brothers to boxing sessions for fun and fitness. I did that until I was about seven years old and then switched to netball which I played and competed highly in for 9 years. I eventually fell out of love with the sport and wanted to find a passion for something else. Around this time, my brothers competed for Stoke Staffs ABC with my dad coaching. I tagged along with a friend and then attended some free summer sessions at a rival club. That’s when I realised I wanted to fight and if I was going to fight competitively, it would have to be for the club my family was a part of.

How long have you been playing and what club do you play for?

I've been attending Stoke Staffs ABC since the summer of 2022. I've only been boxing for just over a year and had my first competition/fight at my club's home showcase on the 12th of March 2023.


What is it about boxing that draws you to the sport?

Having competed in many other sports such as netball, football and shotput, I know how different individual and team sports feel. But boxing is a sport that feels like nothing else. It provides a sense of fear, adrenaline, excitement, relief and nerves all in one. This is what draws me to the sport. I also like the relief and sense of reward after I’ve trained, dieted and displayed so much self-discipline. There’s no other feeling like it.

What has been the most memorable moment or fight so far?

In my journey so far, one of the most memorable moments was my last fight against Renee Cummins in the Women's Winter Box Cup by 2nd Round Stoppage. The International event was also live streamed and I got to meet my amateur idol Mary Kate Smith who was cheering me on with her fans.

Beating Elle Newell in my 2nd fight was also a big highlight on my record as Elle is a three-time National Champion, I won by 2nd Round Stoppage with a body and head barrage.

Another one up there in my best and favourite performances to date was my 40-second stoppage over Tilly Mae Rodgers and winning my first National title. My Dad said it was like Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks!

What titles have you won so far?

I have achieved National Developments Champion, National Elites Semi Finalist, Womens Winter Box Cup Champion and I'm a two-time Midlands Champion.

How do you find balancing your studies with competing/training?

Trying to balance my course as well as my sport can be a struggle. I attend Newcastle College three days a week as well as being on the England Boxing's Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) programme at the DiSE boxing college in Tamworth. Because I attend two colleges I have double the coursework which I need to keep on top off but I try and get extra revision in when travelling to and from Tamworth.

What are your plans when you leave college? Will you continue to box?

I intend to box for as long as I can and would like to go pro and box for England. I have always wished to be a firefighter as well though and I will continue to try and achieve this if I fail to get a scholarship into university to box. If I do attend university, I’d like to study to become a qualified children’s sports physiologist to help struggling young athletes.

What’s your favourite thing about studying at NSCG?

I really enjoy the relaxed environment and the sports opportunities. I am on the netball team and train with on Monday nights with team games on Wednesday afternoons.

What’s your favourite NSCG hangout?

I enjoy chatting and hanging out with my friends in the canteen or Starbucks most mornings and afternoons.

What are you listening to at the moment?

I love listening to all sorts of music but for getting me in the right frame of mind to box, I listen to 2Pac, Eminem, 50 Cent and Drake.

Interested in pursuing a career in sport? Take a look at the range of sport and exercise courses available here.