I was the ‘quiet little blonde girl’ who didn’t fit in, yet I quickly became one of the best in my boxing class. Get out there and prove people wrong.
Although women have competed in boxing for as long as the sport has existed, female boxing has only been seen as a serious sport since the ’80s and still to this day, being a mostly male-dominated sport, many women are incredibly hesitant to give it a try.
Not Phoebe Griffiths, who at just 13 years old, joined our ‘big scary gym’ and attended UG’s boxing classes on a weekly basis. She quickly realised that she had a great deal of talent in this sport and now, at just 17 years old, she holds a national title. Standing as an ambassador for Underground Gym and for female boxing, Phoebe is here to prove that anyone can take part and enjoy this sport and wants to help empower women who feel intimidated by the gym.
What inspired you to start?
I was being bullied at school, my dad is a boxer and so he suggested it would be a great way for me to channel my energy. I didn’t really have much interest in boxing but as soon as I started the classes, I began to really enjoy it. I was training in an all-male class most of the time. There was just one other girl but she rarely showed up. It was a little bit intimidating but I stuck at it two days a week and the more I committed the more I loved it. I discovered Underground Gym through Charlie Wise, my coach’s son and started training with him at the gym twice a week.
How often do you train? When did you start competing?
I am now training 6 times a week and sometimes twice a day. I train at my boxing college throughout the week and meet with my coach Alan on Sundays. I also train every Tues & Thurs in Bognor Regis at my club Bognor ABC. I started to compete around a year and a half ago and since then I have had nine fights so far.
Who are your mentors?
I’ve always looked up to my coach’s son Charlie. I have been training with him right from the start and a lot of the techniques and skills I have mastered with my boxing have come from him. In the boxing world, I’d have to say Katy Taylor is my main inspiration.
What do you love the most about boxing and what’s been your greatest achievement?
Meeting new people and sparring. Before boxing I didn’t travel and meet new people, now, I spar with lots of different styles, lots of different ages and weights. It’s really helped my social skills and given me confidence. I am also incredibly proud I was picked for England and won a national title.
What do your friends think of you boxing?
My friends outside the boxing world are so proud of me, they don’t like to watch as it’s hard seeing me fight. The people I train with are really supportive and they understand how hard it is.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned from boxing so far?
Do not underestimate people and respect everyone. I was the ‘quiet little blond girl’ who didn’t fit in, yet I quickly became one of the best in my boxing class. Get out there and prove people wrong. People often stereotype, particularly when it comes to the sports world and yet there are so many inspiring souls that break out of the ordinary.
What’s the most important habit you’ve attained that has been vital to your success?
Quick feet, quick hands and my speed has played an instrumental part in my wins.
What opportunities do you see in boxing that you haven’t yet had the time to take advantage of?
Helping others. I have only worked with myself as yet and so I’ll be doing PT course soon so I can help other people in this field. I want to build people’s confidence and focus and promote boxing to females. They need to realise how empowering this sport can be!
What are your goals for this year?
I want to win a few titles. I’ve just won a national title this year and now I’m aiming for the England belt. I am going to be entered in the Harringay boxing contest, that’s the next big fight and my coach has also entered me into the Celtic box cup.
What’s been the best thing about boxing? Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Winning. I’m competing for my country and winning new titles. I would love to have my own clothing brand, to help people excel in this sport, to become a top England coach AND box for GB! At the moment I’m at the bottom of the ladder but I intend on doing well in the amateurs and work my way up.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to start?
I really want to promote this; girls need to realise that boxing is empowering! Us ladies tend to pick up skills a lot quicker as we tend to learn and listen a lot more. Lads have a tendency to just focus on the fight. It isn’t just a man’s sport; I’ve met some amazing girls in boxing who are there to face their challenges and surprise everyone around them. Face your fears and give it a go.