Maisey Rose Courtney doesn't do things by halves. The 22-year-old future star is just two fights into her professional journey, having won her first two outings on big arena cards. This weekend she will be making her first appearance on a Katie Taylor undercard, as the Irish superstar prepares to face undisputed super lightweight champion Chantelle Cameron in Dublin.
We caught up with Courtney to discuss her burgeoning career so far, her status as the first female to train at the Matchroom Elite Gym and the inspiration she takes from Taylor.
How much do you know about your opponent this weekend, Kate Radomska?
I don't know much. I don't really like researching and going through the archives of what she has and hasn't done. I know we boxed the same person on our debuts, Judit Hatchbold. I know that she lost a round or two to her. It's an exciting fight. It's a big step up for me to be boxing someone with a winning record in my third professional fight.
How does it feel going into her backyard in Ireland to fight her?
Oh, I love it. I love being like the away fighter. Going on to her turf and beating her on her turf. That excites me. It's fun.
How is your camp going?
It's been amazing. It's probably been my best camp to date. Having Kev (Mitchell) and Tony (Sims) guide me, everything I feel is settling into place. Everything that I've been working on over the past year and a bit, all that strength, conditioning, my nutrition. Everything's just been bang on. I feel so strong and ready to go.
You’re the first female fighter to train at the Matchroom Elite Gym. What has that experience been like?
It's good. I'm like the little sister who gets picked on all the time. I'm at the back of every single run we ever do. But they look after me. They push me just as much as they push the boys and that's something that you want in a coach. You don't want to be treated differently because you're a woman.
I've been on the receiving end of being treated differently because I'm a woman and it irritates me. It annoys me, we're doing the same sport we’re doing the same discipline. So that's why I'm grateful for Kevin and Tony. They might push me even a little bit harder, to make sure I'm fit and to make sure I'm strong. Being the first female it's new to them as much as it's new to me. I’m just setting the benchmark for future girls coming into the gym.
You mentioned having to contend with being treated differently as a woman in boxing. What form did that treatment take?
As a pro luckily, I haven't received anything like that because I'm a woman. As an amateur, 100%. I remember when I first started boxing aged seven, my first amateur club didn't want to put me on the card. You get your card when you first start fighting. It was a load of rubbish but, long story short, it was because I'm a woman. They didn't want to sign me up so I had to move clubs.
I didn't have my first fight until I was 15. You’re allowed to fight at 12. So I was waiting three years for them to give me the card and to let me box. Then I moved to another club, Bodyshots in Crayford, and they let me box within three months. So all the excuses and all the rubbish that was holding me back. It's not good.
Lauren Price became the first female British champion last weekend. What do you think of the addition of British titles in women’s boxing?
It's massive, it's big. I wanted to be the first woman to win it really. But she slipped in there just before me! I can understand why there wasn't one because there wasn’t many females in Britain at the time, not many females at a good level.
Now the talent pool has increased. There's so many good females out there boxing each other and it's so exciting to see that. Now to know that there's a British title on the line for any female, that's what I've got my goal on. By the end of the year hopefully, I'll be British titleholder. The second one, not the first.
Who’s your pick in the main event between Katie Taylor and Chantelle Cameron?
I was on the fence for a very, very long time. Not sure who's gonna win. Because I like both girls a lot. Both ladies are amazing. But as I'm getting closer and closer to the date, I think Katie Taylor's definitely going to win. She can't lose in Ireland, her legacy is too big. It's too strong for her to lose in Ireland. It's such a hard one unless she gets knocked out because Chantelle’s strong you know? Okay, Katie Taylor’s going to win by points in Ireland.
Talk to me about how Katie inspires you as an athlete.
She's the woman that's paved the way for people like me and for future generations to be able to be in this position. She's broken so many barriers and made so many things achievable. Whereas before, you never had anyone to look up to like that. When I first started boxing, I had no female boxer to look up to. I couldn't have even told you one.
As I've grown up with the sport, I've been able to look up to people like Katie Taylor, Chantelle Cameron, and all of them. The kind of ladies that have made my dreams look achievable. I'm grateful to have been able to box on a Katie Taylor card twice so early on in my career. I’m very, very lucky.
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You’ve fought exclusively in big arenas so far, doing Wembley and Newcastle with the 3Arena in Dublin up next. Do you prefer the big buildings or are there some small hall shows in your future?
I'll fight anywhere. I don't care about big arenas or small halls or car parks or fields. Anywhere. I just love boxing and that’s the main thing that drives me forward.
I fight because I love the sport. It is exciting, walking out in front of 7000 people at Wembley Arena. But you get the same amount of nerves walking out to 7000 people that you do three people or walking out to no people. I just love fighting. I don’t care where it is.
You’ve adjusted to fighting in the big buildings just as you’ve also adjusted from the amateur sport to the pro ranks. How have you found that transition?
My first professional fight, I learned the pace of professional boxing. It's very different to the amateurs. It's a little bit slower and it's tougher, and everything's stronger.
The punches hurt more, you’ve got eight ounce gloves on. Your 10 ounce padded gloves don't hurt you, when you get punched this time it hurts if you do get caught. So my second fight I was trying to knock her out, sometimes that doesn't happen. Now you've got to change your game plan and work on things like that. Just learning the whole time. Slowly building up to be the future Maisey I’m going to be.
It’s another learning experience for you this time, going from four rounds up to six. Have you changed your preparations at all for the longer distance?
The way we've always trained down the gym, we're training for them world title fights that are going to happen in a year, year and a half.
I could have done six rounds on my debut because that's how we train. Four rounds is nothing, four rounds is eight minutes of work. That's no time at all to be able to showcase what you can do, how durable you are, how strong you are and stuff like that. So yeah, I’ve just been punished in the gym, six rounds is going to be nothing!
You mentioned “Future Maisey” before. If we sat down for another interview in two years, what are you hoping “Future Maisey” will have accomplished by then?
In two years, hopefully undisputed world champion. I'm not sure what weight yet maybe flyweight maybe super flyweight? Definitely a world titleholder, maybe two. Undisputed is a little bit big, isn't it? Right, well we’ll say world titleholder. I'll definitely have a world title under my belt if not two.